U.S. Deploys Aircraft to Uganda

(Wikipedia)

Security council calls new anti-gay law ‘abhorrent’

The United States is beginning a counter mission in Uganda.

To counter the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an insurgent force with a long history of terror and violence, President Barack Obama has directed the Air Force to deploy CV-22 Ospreys to augment support for the African Union (AU) Regional Task Force.

This directive comes after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law that criminalizes homosexuality in the East African country. The White House, according to members of the National Security Council, is urging Museveni to repeal this “abhorrent” law.

Meanwhile, to protect LGBT individuals from violence and discrimination, a security operation is underway. The CV-22 Osprey is a refueling aircraft, to be based in Uganda, that will provide important airlift to African partners as they pursue the LRA across large and difficult swaths of terrain.

The U.S. State Department notes the deployment of the Ospreys are in accordance with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, signed into law by President Obama in May of 2010. In that piece of legislation, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to supporting regional partners’ efforts to end the atrocities of the LRA in central Africa.

In a statement, issued jointly by NSC members Grant Harris and Stephen Pomper, the White House declares, “As we move forward with the deployment of the Ospreys to support the AU, we are cognizant that there are many who share our concerns about Ugandan President Museveni’s recent enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Ensuring justice and accountability for human rights violators like the LRA and protecting LGBT rights aren’t mutually exclusive. We can and must do both.”

To demonstrate its support for the LGBT community in Uganda, the White House has set forth a set of priorities that includes shifting funding to protect tourists while reaching and treating at-risk populations. Central Africa has a large concentration of reported cases of people living with HIV/AIDS.

However, the White House maintains the new Ugandan Anti Homosexuality Act only complicates its mission.

“The act’s provisions against ‘promotion’ and abetting homosexuality leave questions about what researchers, health workers, and others may do under the law. As a result, we are suspending the start of a survey to estimate the size of key at-risk populations that was to be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Uganda’s Makarere University. Proceeding with the survey could pose a danger to respondents and staff.”


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