European Countries Suspend Aid To Uganda After Antigay Law

European Countries Suspend Aid To Uganda After Antigay Law

From the Wall Street Journal

Several European nations on Tuesday said they were suspending assistance to Uganda, a day after the country’s president signed a law that could see some homosexuals jailed for life.

Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark said they would withhold aid to the Ugandan government in protest against the “draconian law.”

The diplomatic moves represented the first fallout of Uganda’s controversial antigay bill. Although the bill is politically popular in Uganda, it could cost the government of President Yoweri Museveni. Western donors give as much as $2 billion in aid to the country.

On first conviction for so-called homosexual acts, offenders face a 14-year prison sentence. Subsequent convictions for “aggravated homosexuality,” which include homosexual acts committed by an HIV-positive person, could bring a penalty of life in prison.

An official at the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala said the measure would immediately affect at least $8 million in aid to Uganda’s legal system.

Norway extends more than $64 million to Uganda every year. The bulk of Western aid has been going directly to the Ugandan government, which would then earmark it for spending in different departments—notably, health, education and the military.

The Netherlands and Denmark said they would redirect nearly $20 million of aid to Ugandan-based private aid agencies and rights groups. The U.S. and Canada, some of Uganda’s largest donors, said they had started reviewing their relationship with Kampala.

“Regrettably, this discriminatory law will serve as an impediment in our relationship with the Ugandan government,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said on Tuesday.

Written by Nicholas Bariyo | Read more at Wall Street Journal