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Canada kick starts funding for gay rights initiatives in Uganda

Friday, March 8, 2013

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada — A Canadian foreign affairs official acknowledged Friday that there are ongoing efforts to fund grassroots Ugandan LGBTQ advocacy organizations who are battling efforts by the Ugandan Parliament to pass that country’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade told LGBTQ Nation that the ministry has spent approximately $200,000 since November to counter the legislation — commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays Bill.”

Earlier this week, a report in Canada’s National Post indicated that financing agreements between local organizations and the Department of Foreign Affairs were signed in January, and carried out in late February, with most ongoing until the end of March. The money was divided between Uganda, neighboring Kenya — where Canada’s high commissioner for Uganda is based — and on region-wide projects.

Rick Roth, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said that Canadian officials have expressed concerns with the bill to Uganda’s Foreign Ministry, and confirmed that Canada is “working closely with Ugandan civil society.”

One project based in Kenya was created to prepare for emergency scenarios – such as the passage of the bill – where LGBTQ people would need protection or assistance fleeing the country.

Another project focuses on training activists to raise public awareness of LGBT rights.

The anti-homosexuality bill, first introduced in 2009 by MP David Bahati, includes a clause which calls for the death penalty against people found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” — defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender.”

It also imposes harsher jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.

The bill has languished in Uganda’s Parliament, moving up and down the list of legislative order but has yet to come before the legislature for a vote.

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Filed under: North America

10 more reader comments:

  1. Oh canada, my canada… tisk tisk my passive aggressive yet surprising hateful people. Chill out eh?

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:05pm
  2. Hurray to Canada!!!

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:13pm
  3. now the homophobic sob’s can do like southpark and blame canada when the united states gets their heads out of their asses and realize how serious of a social issue this really is

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:21pm
  4. That’s great and all, but that doesn’t mean Uganda is going to do anything just because some random country in North America doesn’t agree with their laws.

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:23pm
  5. one more reason why i like Canada.

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:24pm
  6. Canada is also funding an anti gay church initiative for years now.

    Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 9:47pm
  7. Thanks, Canada!

    Posted on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 7:26am
  8. Thank you Canada!! Too bad the US government is uninterested in cleaning up this atrocity. A mess US citizens created when religious groups took American money they scammed tax free as supposed “charity” to purchase the Ugandan government.

    Posted on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:20am
  9. Oh, Canada… You are just so nice. :)

    Posted on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:53am
  10. See, once you get over your own shit, you can help others!

    Posted on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 11:14am