Uganda Considers Another Round of Anti-Gay/Human Rights Laws Targeting NGOs

Jim Burroway

April 30th, 2014

It’s hard to fathom that a country that enacted one of the world’s more restrictive anti-gay laws just a little over two months ago, and with it earned international condemnation, would go back to that well again. But it looks like that is exactly what they are about to do:

Uganda has drafted a new law that would bar non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from promoting homosexuality, tightening rules further after anti-gay legislation in February was widely condemned as draconian.

The draft, now being studied by the cabinet before being introduced in parliament, would also ban foreign NGOs from meddling in the east African country’s politics, junior internal affairs minister James Baba told Reuters on Monday.

The government has already raided at least one HIV/AIDS research and service NGO, this one operated by the U.S. military, over allegations that it has violated the Anti-Homosexualty Act’s clauses against “aiding and abetting” and “promoting” homosexuality. The U.S. responded by suspending that project, but it has been reluctant to suspend major portions of the U.S.’s estimated $723 million aid package while Ugandan troops continue peacekeeping operations in Somalia while also battling insurgents from the Lord’s Resistance Army. Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark and Britain have already announced direct aid suspensions to the Ugandan government, but the European Union ambassador to Uganda has downplayed talk of wider aid cuts.

The draft NGO law appears to be much broader than the reported sexuality aspects. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, will stand again for yet another five year term in the 2016 elections. His government has come under increasing fire over rampant corruption, the government’s repression of press freedoms and its harassment and detention of opposition figures:

Local and international rights groups have been especially vocal in highlighting mounting violence against members of opposition and the impunity enjoyed by corrupt officials loyal to Museveni, who they say is eager to close all key platforms that give a voice to civil society.

Last year parliament, which is heavily dominated by the ruling party, passed a public order management law that requires any group of more than three people meeting to discuss politics to first seek permission from the police chief.

A Kampala-based human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, said the law was aimed at blunting NGOs’ criticism of government corruption.


April 30th, 2014

I would think that this compels all health-related NGOs to withdraw from Uganda, due to the inability to protect confidentiality. The only possible exception might be vaccination programs. Other NGOs may need to withdraw on a case-to-case basis. It seems evident that Museveni wants to limit access of Ugandans to the outside world and vice versa. Any Ugandan interacting with an NGO may be considered suspicious by the Ugandan government. Non-Ugandan reporters likely will be the next to be targeted, by refusal of entry visa or by deportation.

Eric Payne

April 30th, 2014

The draft NGO law appears to be much broader than the reported sexuality aspects. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, will stand again for yet another five year term in the 2016 elections.

But will he, really? Haven’t we seen, with Vladmir Putin in Russia, Idi Amin in Uganda, Hosni Mubarack in Egypt, Josip Tito in Yugoslavia and others throughout history one of the first steps in dictatorship of a country is to define an internal “enemy” of the country and then set the full force of their military against that enemy?

I think Museveni has no intention of returning power to the people and, possibly, find himself voted out of office. If history is any indication, by 2016, the internal “threat” will be so severe, Museveri will refuse to relinquish power until that “threat” is eliminated.


April 30th, 2014

I know this sounds callous, but I am almost starting not to care any more–The U.S. and E.U. should airlift out and guarantee safe-passage for all sane, caring Ugandans, wall in the country (a la Escape from New York), and leave them to fester in their hate. They can eat all the foreign aid money that’s sitting in their leaders’ bank accounts (they’ll have to airlift THAT back from Switzerland, et al.). They can wallow in AIDS and other diseases and famine. They should be ejected from every International body, shunned, and ignored. Special missions can be arranged to pick up any newborns before they learn to hate.

In 20 years, the Ugandan diaspora can return to a land fertilized by the decaying bodies of the evil and stupid, and start with a nice clean slate.

Of course, I don’t really wish this, but it’s so tempting in Uganda, Russia, etc.

I wonder who they’ll scapegoat next after all the LGBTs are rotting in jails and their people are still starving while the leaders drive around in their armored cars to their posh villas…

Boris Hirsi

April 30th, 2014

But are we SURE that this is bigotry? Or are we just calling these Ugandans bigots even though they have only love in their heart and all good intentions and beliefs.

Maybe we should pen a letter that would condemn the critics of Uganadan politicians or are we just in the business of protecting white and wealthy, domestic bigots?

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2014


This comment has absolutely nothing to do with either Uganda (aside from a mention which could really be just anything you want it to be), nor does it have anything to do with the statement we have signed that you’re so mad about. Instead, it is trolling, with the sole intent to provoke more arguments rather than discussion. If you persist in this behavior, I will be placing you on moderation.


May 1st, 2014

@Boris Hirsi… You’re right. We just need to give Museveni’s Misinformed Minions time to wrestle with their inner demons until the natural love in their hearts brings about an enlightenment and, of course, an apology. Those thousands of Ugandan LGBTs tortured, killed, and/or incarcerated are just collateral damage. We’ll sing songs about their noble sacrifice someday as we celebrate Uganda’s return to sanity in 2150. At the very least we will have gotten more than a century’s worth of intellectual masturbation out of it.

Eric Payne

May 1st, 2014

@Boris Hirsi,

Even though I understand the point you were trying to emphasize — that bigotry is bigotry, regardless of the level of behavior of the bigot — it’s the response to that bigotry that reveals just how humane we, as a species, are measured.

A CEO’s personal political viewpoints are Constitutionally protected, but the company that has that CEO at the helm may ask/encourage that CEO to resign. That is an appropriate response, and while it may confuse some outsiders not privy to the machinations of the corporation and the CEO, leading to assumptions and conclusions based on those assumptions, no one with a grain of “humanity” would call for that CEO’s imprisonment/torture… and then, just to be certain their message was clear, the imprisonment of that CEO’s friends, family and known associates.

If, in your life, you’re unable to differentiate the relative hierarchy of moral “evil” of which displays of bigotry are the face, you must be living a life so empathic it is filled with nothing but pain.

If you were just being sarcastic and snarky… such sarcasm and snarkiness is unnecessary.

Timothy Kincaid

May 1st, 2014

A CEO’s personal political viewpoints are Constitutionally protected, but the company that has that CEO at the helm may ask/encourage that CEO to resign.

Not in California. It is illegal to hire, promote, or fire a person based on their personal political viewpoints.

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2014

I don’t know whether that law applies to CEO’s, who are “at will” employees of the board. But at any rate, that is not the topic of this thread. Please feel free to continue this conversation in a more appropriate thread. Thanks.

Jonathan Oz

May 1st, 2014

This really places a fair number of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) between a rock & a hard place. On the one hand, the people of Uganda have needs that they could alleviate. On the other, the restrictions placed on those offering aid are such that they they make offering the aid practically impossible. I do not envy them their difficult positions. If it only affected the government itself, I’d tell the Ugandan government farewell, so long Auf Wiedersehen, adieu.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.