Uganda lawmaker who called for gay people to be castrated denied entry into the US

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Ugandan lawmaker denied US entry

Visa Denial in Response to Controversial Remarks

A Ugandan legislator, MP Sarah Achieng Opendi, faced visa denial from the U.S. following her controversial proposition. In a discussion on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, which prescribes severe penalties for homosexual acts and their promotion, Opendi advocated for an amendment permitting the castration of gay individuals to prevent homosexual activities in prison.

The refusal by the U.S. embassy in Kampala to grant Opendi a visa for attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York underscores the diplomatic tensions. Despite other supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality Act receiving visas, Opendi expressed frustration, highlighting an ongoing administrative review of her travel plea.

LGBTQ+ Community Reaction

Ugandan LGBTQ+ advocates have praised the U.S.’s decision. Nicholas Opiyo, a prominent human rights attorney, interpreted the visa denial as a significant rebuke to those promoting hate, emphasizing the message it conveys against intolerance. He criticized Ugandan lawmakers’ indifference to international partners’ concerns, stating this visa issue as an example of consequences for such attitudes.

Steven Kabuye, an activist and recent target of homophobic violence, critiqued the hypocrisy of politicians opposing homosexuality domestically while seeking to enjoy freedoms in more inclusive societies. He welcomed the effectiveness of the U.S.’s visa restrictions on Ugandan officials infringing on human rights.

International Response and Further Implications

Following the enactment of Uganda’s controversial law, dubbed the “Kill the Gays” law, by President Yoweri Museveni, the U.S. implemented various sanctions, including visa restrictions and Uganda’s removal from an important trade agreement, to protest the draconian measures.

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The U.S. has also issued warnings to Ghana following the passing of its own anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, threatening repercussions including impacts on foreign investment, tourism, and U.S. aid. The proposed Ghanaian law seeks to elevate criminal penalties for homosexuality and penalize LGBTQ+ identities and support. U.S. State Department spokesperson Matt Miller highlighted the potential adverse effects on Ghana’s economic and social landscape should the bill be enacted.

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