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Sweden is fourth European nation to freeze aid to Uganda over anti-gay law

Friday, March 7, 2014
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The government of Sweden announced Wednesday that it would stop development aid payments to Uganda because of the anti-homosexuality law passed last December and signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni February 24.

Sweden“The government reaffirms its strong condemnation of the Ugandan legislation that violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people,” said Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engstroem, reported AFP.

“Swedish aid is not unconditional. That’s why the government has decided to withhold state-to-state payments,” she added, without specifying the amount involved.

Engstroem said that her country would also maintain subsidies to civil society organizations.

“We want to support homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people in Uganda through Swedish aid via other channels,” Engstroem said.

Sweden’s subsidies to Uganda in 2012 amounted to €26.5 million ($34.1 million USD), 42 percent of which were intended to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality.

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Last week, the Netherlands froze an ongoing aid subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, telling LGBTQ Nation that the earmarked €9.6 million subsidy should not be used to “enforce such an anti-human law and that we [the government of the Netherlands] would not be a party to assisting such laws.”

The governments of Denmark and Norway have also said they would redirect around €8.5 million in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organizations as a result of the Ugandan law, according to Al Jazeera.

Also last week, the World Bank postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda for its health systems because of the law.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law increases sentences for attempted same-sex acts, also specifies life in prison sentences for crimes of “aggravated homosexuality” – sex acts with those that have HIV, with “repeat offenders” and with minors.

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