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World Bank halts financing to Uganda over anti-homosexuality law

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in May assented to an anti-homosexuality law in defiance to a string of condemnations from Western governments, businesses and human rights activists

The World Bank on Tuesday said it has halted new financing to Uganda following the adoption of the anti-homosexuality act, an official statement has said.

The Bretton Woods institution said the anti-homosexuality act contradicts its values which includes eradicating poverty irrespective of race, gender or sexuality.

A statement issued by the World Bank on Tuesday (8 August) said no new public financing to Uganda will be presented to its board of executive directors until the efficacy of the additional measures has been tested.

“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values. We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world.

“Immediately after the law was enacted, the World Bank deployed a team to Uganda to review our portfolio in the context of the new legislation. That review determined additional measures are necessary to ensure projects are implemented in alignment with our environmental and social standards. Our goal is to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects we finance. These measures are currently under discussion with the authorities.”

“No new public financing to Uganda will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors until the efficacy of the additional measures has been tested,” the statement said.

Productive relationship

The World Bank says it has a longstanding productive relationship with Uganda and remains committed to helping its citizenry escape poverty.

“Third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms will significantly increase, allowing us to take corrective action as necessary.”

“The World Bank Group has a longstanding and productive relationship with Uganda; and we remain committed to helping all Ugandans—without exception—escape poverty, access vital services, and improve their lives,” the World Bank statement said.

Below is the full statement:

Background

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in May assented to an anti-homosexuality law, the speaker of the country’s parliament said on Monday.

The approval of the law, one of the world’s strictest anti-LGBTQ laws, comes in defiance to a string of condemnations from Western governments, businesses and human rights activists.

“I now encourage the duty bearers under the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the Anti-Homosexuality Act,” parliament speaker Anita Among said in a post on Twitter. “The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast, and firm manner.”

Same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda, as they are in more than 30 African countries, but the new law goes much further in targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

Museveni previously advised legislators last week to “look into the issue of rehabilitation” and make changes to the bill.

In a letter to parliament in April, he said it needed to be clear and distinguish between someone who professes a homosexual lifestyle and someone who actually commits homosexual acts.

“The proposed law should be clear so that what is thought to be criminalised is not the state of one having a deviant proclivity but rather the actions of one acting on that deviancy,” Museveni wrote in the letter.

“The bill should be reviewed and include a provision that clearly states… a person who is believed or alleged or suspected of being a homosexual who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex does not commit an offence.”

It is unclear if those changes were made in the versions he signed into law.

 

Reporting by Fred Dzakpata in Accra

 

 

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