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March 21, 2014

U.S. cuts some aid to Uganda after anti-gay law passes

Kampala, Uganda--Following the February 24 signing of the country’s draconian anti-gay law, the United States has officially cut some aid to the nation.

Unfortunately, the aid being cut will mostly affect the country’s attempts to combat HIV; the money being frozen is from a pool used for HIV tests and antiretrovirals.

Other countries and organizations have halted $118 million worth of aid and loans to Uganda. The funds being held pending reassessment by the American government are part of the Centers for Disease Control’s cooperative efforts with the Ugandan government, and last year, the CDC only gave the country about $3 million, while total U.S. aid to Uganda comes to over $720 million.

Officials from countries across the West warned Uganda that passage of the law, which brings penalties up to life sentences for engaging in gay sex and criminalizes LGBT advocacy, would bring a reaction.

On March 11, blogs across Africa said that two men were arrested in their hotel room for having sex with each other. Allegedly, the men checked into the hotel, and within a quarter of an hour, were moaning so loudly that hotel employees heard it and reported it to the police. It is believed to be the first arrest under the law.

The same day the blog posts appeared, opposition leaders and human rights activists filed suit against the law, called the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Their suit claimed both that the parliament did not have a quorum when it approved the legislation in December, and that it violates constitutional rights of equality, privacy, freedom of expression and association.

 


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