How will Airlines With Diversity Policies Continue to operate in anti-Gay Uganda and Nigeria

The Not so Friendly Ugandan and  Nigerian Skies and we still wait to hear from United and Delta

By Melanie Nathan, January 20, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 9.48.49 AM Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 9.48.28 AMMany corporations in the United States, some of which operate internationally, have established diversity policies, where they tout non discriminatory policies based on race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disabilities.

The newly passed anti-gay legislation of Uganda and Nigeria could pose a serious threat to employees of such corporations and so we set about asking some questions.

For years many countries in Africa have lived with old Colonial era penal codes which sought to criminalize homosexuality, and not much attention was paid to the law or LGBT people. However after a series of visits and interference from hate-exporting evangelicals from the West, Scott Lively and Lou Engle, amongst others,  Nigeria and Uganda have now passed Anti-Homosexuality legislation that provides harsh prison sentences for the sexual acts commonly associated with homosexuality and for other aspects relating to homosexuality. These laws take the matter much further and now punish  the vague concept of  so called “promotion of homosexuality.” The definitions are unclear and wide, and anyone setting foot in one of these countries could be targets – perhaps even employers who tout diversity as a practice.

There have been recent arrests of foreign nationals under the older and less purposeful penal codes. We can only imagine what is going to happen with the new laws.

Today I reached out to United Airlines and Delta Air to ask questions about their stance on the new laws.

I asked if they planned to make any public statements about these laws, how the laws would impact business, considering they have diversity policies where gays and lesbians are encouraged to apply for jobs with the promise of no discrimination.  I wondered if they were still going to be comfortable serving countries where their employees could, by mere virtue of their sexuality, be subject to arrest.  I asked  if they had protocols in place to warn their employees of the dangers of being openly out or even discreet in these countries.  I wondered whether they were comfortable knowing that their intent to implement non-discrimination policies would be thwarted by virtue of where they operate, given the fact that straight employees could indulge safely in sexual activities while gays could not.

Both United Airlines and Delta said that they would get back to me.

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America’s Richard Branson recently published a blog post saying he would not do business with Uganda if they enacted the anti-Homosexuality Bill, which it is believed may have been signed by President Museveni into law today.  Branson has yet to issue a statement about Nigeria’s enavctment of the Jail the Gays Bill.   Virgin Atlantic flies to Lagos in Nigeria.

I am not holding my breathe here, however I do think that all corporations operating in these countries must re-think whether it is prudent to continue to do business in these areas, given that they will be unable to implement their discrimination free policies in these venues. Not to mention the moral obligation to withdraw their business and refrain from serving countries where a large portion of those who they serve and who work for them are now targets for state sanctioned persecution.


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Airlines flying Uganda

British Airways flights Turkish Airlines flights South African Airways flights
KLM flights Qatar Airways flights EgyptAir flights
Delta flights Brussels Airlines flights US Airways flights
Emirates flights Ethiopian Airlines flights
American Airlines flights United flights

Direct from United States to Nigeria

Delta flights United flights

Other airlines flying to Nigeria

British Airways flights Turkish Airlines flights US Airways flights
Emirates flights Qatar Airways flights Ethiopian Airlines flights
Virgin Atlantic flights Etihad Airways flights Royal Jordanian flights
Lufthansa flights Iberia flights Royal Air Maroc flights
Air France flights South African Airways flights EgyptAir flights
KLM flights Alitalia flights  Virgin Atlantic

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