A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” gays, outing some Ugandans and raising fears of violence against those identified just a day after the president enacted a severe anti-gay law.
Many on the list “are scared, and they need help,” said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent Ugandan gay activist who was identified in the Red Pepper tabloid. “Some want to leave the country, and they are asking to be helped.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday’s signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni marked “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights.”
He warned that Washington could cut aid to the East African nation over the new law, which punishes gay sex with up to life in prison.
“We are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a statement.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded the revision or repeal of the law, warning Tuesday that it could fuel prejudice and harassment against gays.
Red Pepper ran its list of names — and some pictures — in a front-page story under the headline “EXPOSED!”
News editor Ben Byarabaha said the paper published the full names of only the well-known activists and tried to use nicknames for those not publicly gay. A popular Ugandan hip-hop star and a Catholic priest are among those on the list.
Byarabaha offered no details on how the names were compiled.
Onziema, who repeatedly has warned that Uganda’s new law could spark violence against gays, said the tabloid had provided enough information to identify many people who had not come out publicly.