Ugandan legislator Sarah Achieng Opendi. Source: Global Information Network - Photo: 2024

US Denies Visa to Ugandan Lawmaker Who Called for Castration of Gay Men

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 13 March 2024 (IDN) — Ugandan legislator Sarah Achieng Opendi, who called for gays to be castrated, has been denied a visa to attend a major UN meeting in New York next week.

Opendi said she was “shocked” after the US embassy in Kampala rejected her application to travel to the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, from 11 to 12 March.

“Ninety-six per cent of MPs voted in favour of the (anti-gay) bill, and I am aware of a number of MPs that have gotten visas to the US, yet they supported the bill,” Opendi, chair of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, complained.

In December, the US imposed visa restrictions on hundreds of Ugandan lawmakers and their families over their involvement in the legislation, signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni, which imposes the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain same-sex acts and sentences of up to 20 years for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities”.

Last year, the US and UK denied visas to the parliamentary speaker, Anita Among. Activists in Uganda have welcomed the actions.

“In the process of discussing the sweeping and repressive anti-gay law, many Ugandan legislators said they don’t care about the concerns of development partners as they do not need to travel to their jurisdictions. It’s the case of the chicken coming home to roost,” said human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.

“The denial of a visa is a strong statement against those spreading hatred. I hope it sends a firm message that such individuals have no place in civilized societies,” he added. 

In a related development, the home of the program officer of Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, an LGBT+ advocacy group in Bukavu, South Kivu, was attacked by a mob in the DRC on March 6.

About 15 people forced their way in, rushing at the officer with punches, kicks, slaps…

“There is no doubt that the motive was homophobic and not criminal, as nothing was stolen from our colleague’s home,” reported Jérémie Safari, the organization’s executive director. “The assailants cited the activities of Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko to explain their actions.” [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Ugandan legislator Sarah Achieng Opendi. Source: Global Information Network

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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