In a press statement released on June 16, 2023, the US Department of State announced that it will be imposing visa restrictions on Ugandan individuals believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining the democratic process in Uganda. This move comes as a response to the alarming human rights abuses and rampant corruption that have plagued the country.
Under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the United States government aims to promote accountability by targeting officials involved in activities that hinder the democratic process in Uganda. These visa restrictions serve as a measure to hold individuals responsible for their actions, sending a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated.
President Biden has directed the U.S. government to evaluate additional actions and explore the use of other tools at their disposal to address the situation in Uganda. This includes targeting officials and individuals who engage in corrupt practices, abuse human rights (including LGBTQI+ rights), or undermine democratic principles.
The updated travel guidance provided to U.S. citizens includes a warning about the risks faced by LGBTQI+ individuals or those perceived to be LGBTQI+ in Uganda. The recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in Uganda has raised concerns globally, as it provides for severe penalties such as life imprisonment or even the death penalty for individuals based on their sexual orientation.
According to press statement, the United States reiterates its strong support for the people of Uganda and remains committed to promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms, both within Uganda and around the world. These visa restrictions serve as a tangible step towards holding accountable those responsible for undermining democratic processes and violating human rights in Uganda.
As the situation in Uganda continues to be monitored, the U.S. government stands ready to take further action as necessary. By imposing visa restrictions and utilizing various tools at its disposal, the United States aims to promote accountability and bring about positive change in Uganda’s governance and respect for human rights.