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Will the UK Deny Aid to Anti-LGBT Countries?

Will the UK Deny Aid to Anti-LGBT Countries?
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In a move which has surprised many, the British government has gone public on a new policy of tying foreign aid to a country’s LGBT human rights actions. The new policy has received an enthusiastic welcome in the UK, but activists in the ‘global south’ are more cautious.

The move appeared in the right-wing, anti-foreign aid tabloid the Mail on Sunday but has been confirmed to the author by a source, who says the decision on the new policy was made in the summer.

The Mail article names three African countries whose aid is under threat: Uganda, Malawi and Ghana. In all three countries, sodomy laws are relics of British colonization — and this was named as a highly relevant point by Kofi Mawuli Klu, the Executive Commissioner of Panafriindaba, an African think tank, in a heated discussion about the foreign aid move on BBC Radio on October 10.

Malawi has already had its aid cut by the UK. Although LGBT issues were not mentioned by the UK — the cut was described as being due to increasing authoritarianism — the Malawian government explicitly blamed local LGBT human rights supporters for the aid cut.

The UK is threatening to cut aid to Uganda because of the increased repression of LGBT people and the potential passage of the ‘Kill the Gays’ Anti-Homosexuality bill.

The Mail article claims that a British Minister explicitly threatened aid cuts to Ghana because of that country’s increasingly anti-gay atmosphere, which has been highlighted internationally by one regional Minister’s threat to ‘arrest all gay people.’

However a fact-sheet made available to journalists during a Media Open Day at the British High Commission in Accra on March 29 said that the UK government would increase its development assistance to Ghana in the next four years (2011-2015) to 375 million (US $587m).

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, specifically singled out Malawi for mention in remarks delivered to a Downing Street reception in June for Gay Pride.

He claimed that the British coalition government’s commitment to not cut its foreign aid budget despite its austerity program meant it carried “moral authority” when speaking to ‘global south’ countries about “what we expect from them.”

“Im very proud of the fact we [put] huge pressure on the leader of Malawi about an issue in that country but Im convinced we can do more. We have got the ability to speak to African leaders, African governments, about this issue that I know concerns everyone here tonight. And it concerns me,” he said.

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Photo credit: DFID

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24 comments

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11:10AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

...dear lord, this is what World War III will be now.
It wont be about territory, it will be about human rights.

I'm all for helping the LGBT community, and though I'm iffy, I'm afraid the fact is that maybe this is the only way people will listen.

Passive aggressive much? I guess I'm like that too, I can't complain.

1:52AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:28PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

These africian countries want to make it legal to murder people just because they are BORN gay. They are encouraging this because of American missionaries and their crusades of hatred. Absolutedly deny these countries aid ! Why help a country that promotes death to a HUGE portion of the human race because of their sexaul identity? LYNN C would be singing a different tune if it were anyone else but gays. Why not make it legal to kill women? Or OLD women? Or women who have small breasts? Whats wrong with that picture LYNN C.?

3:21AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

The intention is worth respect, but... common people become victims eventually. How are they to force their governments out of homophobia in order to receive aid? It's not that easy, there have to be some other ways.

10:12PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

So people starve and die because their leaders are not politically correct....what's wrong with this picture?

8:25PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

I'm glad aid is being withheld, but Cameron does have another motive; he pledged billions in aid that the UK simply cannot afford - these payments can now be avoided on the pretext of a moral issue.

6:22PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Dawid, NO DAWID, the UK is doing a wonderful thing! The fact you show up in the LGBT forums time after time proves beyond a shadow of any doubt that your struggling within yourself regarding your own sexuality. Your "stuck" in a marriage and trying to do the right thing in the eyes of your family to keep them all happy, while during the mean time making yourself miserable. Then just like Ted Haggert, George Rekers, Eddie Long and countless other so-called "men of faith" try to live a dual life. Eventually you'll get caught and outed. And all this could have been avoided if you had the courage to come out as a happy and proud LGBT person long before you dug yourself in as deep as you have. I feel sorry for you.

3:26PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

The European Union, United States, Australia, New Zealand and other free, democratic nations should ban together and declare that no more aid, trade or business of any kind will be conducted with countries who abuse human rights. I don't care if they are our lenders; sell us oil, or other goods and services. Profit, comfort or indulgent in luxuries should never come at the expense of another human being.

Let's see how fast these countries turn around when they lose the Euro, the pound, the dollar, etc. And there should be annual inspections of ALL countries human rights by independent groups, like Amnesty International, based on international laws. As a lesbian I learned long ago when fighting for the civil rights for blacks in this country, if we don't fight for human rights and don't do it on a global scale we will never stop discrimination and hatred, there will always be another group to go after because they are not named in some document.

We all should be willing to fight for human rights of all people, if not, what does that say about us as a people or country?

11:09AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Spread the word. Consensual adult sex in private is no sin. Homophobic violence is a sin. When money backs that up, maybe we'll get it through their tiny heads...

10:45AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

It sounds harsh, but it may be the only way of making these backward nation understand that Gay rights are human rights. And to be a part of the modern world requires a recognition of and respect for human rights.

Some of the violations committed against Gays in many countries are horrific. Why would any decent, moral country agree to fund those abuses? The US should absolutely make Gay rights a condition of foreign aid. We should also make women's and children's rights a condition for aid. Male dominance is not a lifestyle I want my tax dollars supporting.

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