Gay rights group wants Kerry to recall ambassadors to Uganda, Nigeria

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Secretary of State John Kerry. - PHOTO: Courtesy

The Human Rights Campaign is calling on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to recall the nation’s ambassadors to Uganda and Nigeria.

The nation's largest LGBT civil rights group says that urgent consultation is required before regular diplomacy can proceed with nations that recently enacted some of the world’s most virulently anti-LGBT laws.

“The Ugandan and Nigerian governments’ decisions to treat their LGBT citizens like criminals cannot be accepted as business as usual by the U.S. government. We urge Secretary Kerry to recall both Ambassadors for consultations in Washington to make clear the seriousness of the situation in both countries,” said HRC president Chad Griffin in a news release.

Last week, a spokesperson for the Ugandan president announced that President Yoweri Museveni would sign an archaic anti-LGBT bill into law that was passed by the Uganda parliament last December. The measure calls for gay Ugandans or anyone “promoting” homosexuality to be jailed — potentially for life.

The passage of the AHB is part of a broader attack on fundamental freedoms in Uganda over the past several years. Human rights violations are on the rise there and the bill represents an especially troubling escalation of this trend, according to human rights leaders.

Meanwhile, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has signed into law a measure that criminalizes same-sex marriage, punishes homosexuality with jail terms of up to 14 years and threatens any person who supports or is a member of an LGBT organization with 10 years’ imprisonment.

Since the law was enacted, Nigerian activists and human rights groups have reported dozens of LGBT people have been arrested.

Over the weekend, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice reported on Twitter that dialogue with Museveni urging him to refrain from enacting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had proven unproductive.

President Barrack Obama also issued a statement condemning the AHB.

Kerry too has criticized the governments of Uganda and Nigeria.

And, more recently, the secretary of state issued a statement on anti-gay rhetoric from officials in the Gambia.

Kerry said, "The United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National Day speech on Feb. 18. All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. We call on the government of the Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians, and we encourage the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable."

Kerry also said, "Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love."