On Monday, the United States announced a new visa restriction policy for officials in Zimbabwe and expanded its policy on visa restrictions for Ugandan officials to include those it believes are responsible for undermining democracy and repressing marginalised groups in Uganda.
When announcing the visa restrictions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought up the marginalisation of groups such as the LGBT community in Uganda and civil society advocates in Zimbabwe, among other things. No official was mentioned by name in Blinken’s remarks.
Considered to be among the strictest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world, Uganda’s law was passed in May and imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes HIV transmission through gay sex.
Following the law’s passage, the US State Department placed restrictions on Ugandan officials’ ability to travel in June. Prior to this, the State Department had imposed visa restrictions on Ugandan officials in the wake of the 2021 elections, which it deemed to be “flawed.”
“Today, I am announcing the expansion of the visa restriction policy to include current or former Ugandan officials or others who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda or for policies or actions aimed at repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations,” Blinken said on Monday.
“These groups include, but are not limited to, environmental activists, human rights defenders, journalists, LGBTQI+ persons, and civil society organizers.”
A new visa restriction policy for individuals he claimed were undermining Zimbabwean democracy which also Blinken announced.