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Sweden to resume development aid payments to Uganda

Sweden to resume development aid payments to Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda — Just four months after suspending development aid payments to Uganda over passage of an anti-homosexuality law, the Swedish embassy in Kampala said Monday that Sweden would extend nearly $200 million in development support to Uganda over the next five years.

swedenThe aid would go to improve child and maternal health, sustainable growth and employment in the east African country, reports Reuters.

Uganda relies on aid to fund about 20 percent of its annual state budget, but it has resisted Western pressure to rescind the law, enacted in February, which imposes jail terms of up to life for “aggravated homosexuality,” including gay sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.

“Sweden wants to help create better conditions in Uganda for sustainable economic growth and development. This is why Swedish aid to Uganda will remain substantial,” Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engstrom said.

“Sweden continues to support human rights and freedom from violence”, the embassy said in its English-language statement.

In March, Sweden announced it would stop development aid payments to Uganda. Engstroem said at the time that the Swedish government “reaffirms its strong condemnation of the Ugandan legislation that violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people,” and that “Swedish aid is not unconditional.”

Other donors including Norway, Denmark, the United States and the World Bank also cut aid.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has rejected criticism of the law, saying international donors had misinterpreted it, and that the law was intended to prevent promotion of gay sex to children, not to punish or ostracize homosexuals.

The law criminalizes homosexual behavior, and imposes prison sentences of 14 years for gay sex between consenting adults, and life imprisonment for “repeat offenders.”

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