A Ugandan tabloid newspaper today published the names of 200 people it claims are gay, following the recent adoption of an anti-LGBTI (lesbian, gay bisexual, transsexual or intersex) bill setting out harsh penalties for homosexuality – including life sentences for gay sex. In the past, openly gay people and activists in Uganda have been attacked and even lynched.
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
"We are appalled at the witch-hunt against LGBTI people in Uganda. This has nothing to do with supporting or rejecting Western values, but is about respecting fundamental human rights.
"The European Union's development aid commitments to Uganda will not change immediately but we will consider the formal sanctions at our disposal, including visa and travel bans for officials involved with the Anti-Homosexuality Act and launching consultations to suspend the Cotonou trade agreement with countries such as Uganda and Nigeria which adopt homophobic laws. EU development aid should be redirected to ensure that EU money reaches the most vulnerable without government-imposed discrimination.
"We won't let entire groups be persecuted and jailed simply for who they are; no one's human rights are to be toyed with."