US State Department Officials Meet with Ugandan LGBT Advocates

Jim Burroway

March 11th, 2010

Canada’s Xtra is reporting that two diplomats from Washington met with LGBT advocates in Uganda to discuss the pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before that nation’s Parliament. Geeta Pasi, US Bureau of African Affairs’ East Africa director and Bruce Wharton, the bureau’s director of public affairs, met with a Kampala-based US embassy staff member and local advocates to discuss some of the options, including imposing economic sanctions and convincing US Evangelicals who are popular in Uganda to speak out against the bill.

According to Brown Kiyimba, a Kampala-based Unitarian minister, the diplomats spoke very little at the meeting, and were mostly listening. The diplomats however did express concerns that passage of the draconian bill would limit American investment in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Diplomats also said they would consider granting visas for LGBT leaders to travel to the US to raise awareness about the legislation. Local leaders expressed concerns about the safety of LGBT people, with many planning to flee if the law is passed. While that reportedly led to a short discussion on the possibility of asylum, no commitments were made as far as I can tell. According to Xtra, the US Embassy had no comment on the meeting.

Paul in Canada

March 12th, 2010

It is vital to keep pressure on your US government (both domestically and internationally) to speak publically about the official policies the US wishes to follow in reaction to this ‘bill’. More importantly, to get politicians to speak publically about what will be the US response should the bill be passes (no matter what form it takes)!

Jean-Paul Bentham

March 12th, 2010

I believe Kaj Hasselriis’s article in “Xtra” contains a tad more that what is reported in Mr. Baroway’s resumé.

The meeting of American diplomats with Ugandan Gays is a tremendous sign of hope, especially since it was made clear that these meetings will continue in view of delaying the odious Bill, and eventually defusing it.

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