World Bank punishes Uganda for anti-gay law

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The World Bank has halted fresh assistance for Uganda, citing the country’s anti-homosexuality bill, which was passed earlier this year, as the rationale for the move.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the global finance group found that the East African country’s anti-LGBTQ law, which punishes “aggravated homosexuality” a death charge and imposes penalties of up to life in prison for consenting same-sex relationships, breaches its values.

“We believe that our vision of ending poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.” This legislation hinders those efforts. “Inclusion and non-discrimination are central to our work around the world,” the bank said.

The decision follows rising calls for sanctions against Kampala by human rights groups and campaigners following the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 in May, which they claim “legalizes homophobia and transphobia.”

Several members of the United States Congress wrote to World Bank President Ajay Banga late last month, urging that the bank cease all loans to Uganda in order to persuade the government to remove anti-gay legislation. Previously, a coalition of 170 civil organizations urged that Banga respond to Uganda’s “abhorrent” law.

According to the group, a World Bank team went to Kampala “immediately” after the law was approved and found that further procedures were needed to guarantee project implementation fit with the bank’s environmental and social requirements.

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

The World Bank’s portfolio of International Development Association funding for Uganda totaled $5.4 billion by the end of 2022, according to the agency.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s state minister for international affairs, accused the bank of duplicity, stating it had been “put under pressure by the usual imperialists.”

“numerous Middle Eastern countries do not allow homosexuals; gays are actually hanged and executed; in the United States of America, numerous states have established laws that are either against or prohibit homosexual activity… So why choose Uganda?” According to Reuters, Oryem.