Anti-Gay Law Is Costing Uganda

US cuts aid, imposes visa restrictions, and more

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2014 10:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Uganda's harsh new anti-gay law—which makes "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by life in prison—is costing the country: The US yesterday cut aid to Uganda over it, and didn't stop there. It slapped visa restrictions on Ugandans believed by the US to have been involved in human rights violations or corruption, the AP reports; a planned National Institutes of Health meeting will be moved from Uganda to South Africa; and a planned military exercise with Uganda has been axed. Among the aid cuts: $2.4 million that was meant to fund a Ugandan community policing program has been halted, and $3 million planned to fund a national public health institute will be reallocated to another unnamed African country.

The moves "reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity," the White House said in a statement, according to Reuters. But a government spokesperson in Uganda was unswayed: "Uganda is a sovereign country and can never bow to anybody or be blackmailed by anybody on a decision it took in its interests, even if it involves threats to cut off all financial assistance," he says. And Uganda has experienced more than threats: Before yesterday's announcement it had already seen $118 million in aid from Western donors pulled. The US will continue its involvement in the hunt for Joseph Kony, CNN notes.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie)
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