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U.S. imposes visa bans on Ugandan officials over gay rights abuses

Thursday, June 19, 2014
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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Rebecca Vassie, AP

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is imposing visa bans on Ugandan officials who are involved in corruption and are violating the rights of gay people and others.

The Obama administration did not identify the targeted officials.

Uganda passed a law in February that strengthened criminal penalties for gay sex and made life sentences possible for those convicted of breaking the law.

Human rights groups have reported a surge in rights abuses of gay people since the law took effect.

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“LGBT rights are human rights and the steps taken today make clear that the United States will take action to defend those rights,” U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement.

“The discriminatory law in Uganda that criminalizes homosexual status should be repealed, as should laws and policies in the more than 76 countries around the world that criminalize homosexuality. We will do everything we can to work with governments and our non-government partners to end anti-gay discrimination around the world,” said Power.

The U.S. already has said it would discontinue or redirect several million dollars in assistance to Uganda. The Pentagon also canceled a training exercise in Uganda.

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