Ugandan TV: Canada Threatens to Cut Ties

Jim Burroway

February 19th, 2014

NTV Uganda reports:

The Canadian government has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Uganda if the Anti Homosexuality bill is signed into law. Ugandan Ambassador Alintuma Nsambu says he was summoned on Monday by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister to explain why Canada should not take that step. Nsambu says if signed, several western countries could isolate Uganda.


February 19th, 2014

I am somewhat puzzled why Canada would threaten to break off ties with Uganda, yet does nothing about Nigeria, whose legislation is just as bad, and where there are anti-gay lynch mobs (also in Cameroon).

Priya Lynn

February 19th, 2014

FYonug, maybe its an empty threat.

John (not McCain)

February 19th, 2014

I certainly hope it’s not an empty threat. If any country cannot treat it’s citizens in a civilized fashion, then it should not be allowed to participate in human civilization generally.


February 19th, 2014

When the world united to ostracize the Union of South Africa it was successful in helping to end that nation’s apartheid policy. While the embargoes probably harmed many Black South Africans, it ultimately let to the overthrow of apartheid. I would frankly be happy to see countries unite against all discriminatory nations. I doubt that all nations discriminating could be targeted at once, but we could begin with those central African nations with histories of anti-gay activities.

Mark F.

February 19th, 2014

Really, has Canada also threatened to cut diplomatic ties with other anti-gay countries? Like Saudi Arabia? Didn’t think so. Can we say double standards?

Priya Lynn

February 19th, 2014

Mark, countries like Saudi Arabia do sometimes execute gays but do they have an official law on the books punishing gay people, or is it more of a occaisional sort of unsanctioned outburst?

Timothy Kincaid

February 19th, 2014

Perhaps the difference is the direction of movement.

Saudi Arabia is horrific for gays, but always has been. They are probably more tolerant (if unofficially) now than a decade ago.

Uganda, Nigeria, and other African nations are going the wrong direction. They are cracking down on gay activists and ratcheting up anti-gay rhetoric and incitement.


February 19th, 2014

To Timothy’s and Priya Lynn’s remarks, I would just add that the backlash in Uganda and Nigeria could drag down other countries, interfering with the world’s progress towards civil equality. Saudi Arabia, with its stable or gradually improving social climate, is unlikely to have that effect.

Mark F.

February 19th, 2014

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and can be severely punished. However, the law requires 4 witnesses, so it’s hard to enforce. Saudis are big on personal privacy, so discreet private gay parties are probably fairly safe. Men don’t socialize with women anyway in that culture, so an all male party is nothing unusual.


February 19th, 2014

That must have been an interesting meeting between the Ugandan Ambassador and the Canadian Foreign Minister who is glass-closet gay. A right-wing conservative – he has led the government’s hard right turn to extreme support for Netanyahu’s occupation of the West Bank, he has also been particularly vocal on gay rights, most recently the Russian gay propaganda law.

I find the “but you support this despot” line of argument totally wrong. Focus on an issue, do what you think might work, and move on to the next issue. What Country R is doing is separate from what Uganda is proposing to do today. No country is perfect as should be obvious to the nation that tortures innocent prisoners, fails to prosecute its war criminals, and murders hundreds of thousands in illegal wars.


February 20th, 2014

@Timothy “Perhaps the difference is the direction of movement.”

I agree that Uganda differs from most Islamic republics since those are already lost causes for LGBTs, while Uganda wasn’t a lost cause yet, but is moving in the wrong direction and is likely to be copied by other sub-Saharan nations.

However, that argument does not distinguish Uganda from Cameroon and Nigeria, which are also moving in the wrong direction and likely to be copied.

In the case of Nigeria, I could speculate that the distinguishing factors are that it is immune to Western pressure due to its oil and mineral wealth, and it is so close to all-out religious/civil war (with regular pogroms against Christians and occasional ones against Muslims) that its government can do little to stop anti-gay persecution anyway. I am somewhat puzzled why Obama recently reaffirmed his support for Nigeria.

I favour Canada, UK, France and the USA cooperating to impose travel restrictions on the high government officials of several countries, notably Cameroon, Gambia, Nigeria and Uganda. I also favour redirection of aid to NGOs from those governments.

I’m not sure what cutting off diplomatic ties would accomplish apart from saving a bit of money.

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