Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another European nation freezes aid to Uganda over anti-gay law

STAFF REPORTS | The government of Sweden announced Wednesday that it would stop development aid payments to Uganda because of the anti-homosexuality law passed last December and signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni February 24.
"The government reaffirms its strong condemnation of the Ugandan legislation that violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people," Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engstroem reported Agency Press France. 
"Swedish aid is not unconditional. That's why the government has decided to withhold state-to-state payments," she added without specifying the amount involved.
The Netherlands froze an ongoing aid subsidy to Uganda’s legal system last week telling LGBTQ Nation that the earmarked €9.6 million Euros subsidy should not be used to “enforce such an anti-human law and that we [the government of the Netherlands] would not be a party to assisting such laws.”
The governments of Denmark and Norway have also said they would redirect around €8.5 million in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organizations as a result of the Ugandan law, reported Al Jazeera.
Engstroem  said that her country would also maintain subsidies to civil society organisations.
"We want to support homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people in Uganda through Swedish aid via other channels," Engstroem said.
Sweden's subsidies to Uganda in 2012 amounted to 26.5 million euros ($34.1 million), 42 percent of which were intended to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality.
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law increases sentences for attempted same-sex acts, also specifies life in prison sentences for crimes of “aggravated homosexuality” – sex acts with those that have HIV, with “repeat offenders” and with minors.