The White House says Uganda could potentially face economic “repercussions” if the controversial anti-gay bill that was recently passed by the East African nation’s parliament becomes law, BBC reported.
The bill in question criminalizes homosexual activities in the country. As proposed by the bill, individuals who identify as gay could be sentenced to life in prison. The bill also proposes a death penalty for people who are found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.” The controversial bill will become law if President Yoweri Museveni appends his signature to it.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, said, Washington would “have to take a look at whether or not there might be repercussions that we would have to take, perhaps in an economic way, should this law actually get passed and enacted.”
“So, we’ll have to take a look. No decisions,” Kirby added. “We’re watching this very, very closely. And hopefully, it won’t pass and we won’t have to do anything.”
The European Union also released a statement saying it was “deeply concerned by the passing of an anti-homosexuality bill by the Ugandan Parliament”, adding that it “is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”
“The criminalization of homosexuality is contrary to international human rights law,” the EU stated. “The European Union will continue engaging with the Ugandan authorities and civil society to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, are treated equally, with dignity and respect.”
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Volker Turk, described the bill as “discriminatory” in a statement on Wednesday, per CBS News. “The passing of this discriminatory bill — probably among the worst of its kind in the world — is a deeply troubling development,” Turk said.
He also explained that if President Museveni signs the bill into law, it “will render lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are.” “It could provide carte blanche for the systematic violation of nearly all of their human rights and serve to incite people against each other,” Turk added.