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First countries cut aid to Ugandan Government over anti-gay law

The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have announced they will suspend financial assistance to Uganda after President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial bill that would see homosexuals jailed for life - as others review their assistance to the East African nation
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands have become the first countries to either redirect aid away from the Ugandan Government or freeze aid.

The Netherlands froze $9.6 million in aid to Uganda’s legal system, saying that if Uganda’s courts were to enforce the country’s new harsh laws further criminalizing homosexuality then they did not want to assist that process.

Denmark and Norway have also said they both planned to redirect around $8.5 million in aid, to a combined total of $17 million, away from the Ugandan Government – with that money instead going to Non-Government Organizations and human rights groups in Uganda.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has said that the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will impede the relationship between his country and Uganda and has vowed the move will only embolden his nation in doing more on human rights there.

‘Canada is extremely disappointed that President Museveni has signed this piece of legislation, which will make homosexuality punishable with life imprisonment. We strongly urge the President to protect the human rights of all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation, in accordance with Uganda’s constitution,’ Baird said in a statement.

‘This act is a serious setback for human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms and deserves to be widely condemned. Regrettably, this discriminatory law will serve as an impediment in our relationship with the Ugandan government.

‘Canada has repeatedly raised our concerns with the Government of Uganda, and we have done so again. Our engagement on human rights issues will only become more persistent. We will continue to support efforts to decriminalize homosexuality and combat violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.’

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the US would conduct a formal review of its relationship with Uganda which would include assistance programs.

‘Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda,’ Kerry said, according to SFGate.

‘We are also deeply concerned about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective.’

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