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Norway cuts Shs20b aid over anti-gays law

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By TABU BUTAGIRA

Posted  Wednesday, February 26  2014 at  02:00
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KAMPALA

The Norwegian government has withdrawn Shs20b in budget support to Uganda over the Anti-Homosexuality law President Museveni assented to on Monday.

“The new law violates fundamental human rights and the Ugandan Constitution,” the country’s Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Børge Brende, said. “We will hold back around Norwegian Kroner 50m of our aid to Uganda...we will increase our support to human rights and democracy defenders,” reads a statement by Kyrre Holm, the First Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy.

Both The Netherlands and Denmark were reported to be considering slashing their aid package to Uganda, having frozen development assistance in 2012 over pilfering of $13m by bureaucrats in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The developments follow announcement by the US and Sweden that they are reviewing their assistance to Uganda too. “...we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programmes, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on Monday.

The White House said Mr Museveni, by signing into law a legislation criminalising homosexuality, had taken Uganda a “step backward”. Mr Kerry added: “...this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda; it reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/Aids.”

Separately, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton described as “draconian” the legislation criminalising homosexuality, providing up to life sentence for the worst crimes in gay relationships.

President Museveni said individuals who promote homosexuality, those recruited on financial inducement, and those who public exhibit homosexual affection should be punished harshly by the law.

The President castigated Western government for attempting a “social imperialism” by imposing their values on Africans forcibly under the guise of promoting human rights, warning that homosexuality has no place in Uganda.

tbutagira@ug.nationmedia.com