All projects run by government and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Uganda that are funded by the World Bank are set to stall due to lack of funding in the next Financial Year.
This comes after the World Bank passed a decision this week stopping all funding to Uganda, following the draconian Anti-Gay law that signed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and passed by Parliament a few months ago.
According to a recent statement from the World Bank, the Anti-Gay law does not conform to financial inclusion and is against the Bank’s policy of non-discrimination of all people basing on their religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values. We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality,” the World Bank statement issued Tuesday August 08th, 2023, reads in part, adding that; “This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our workaround the world.”
This website has since established that immediately after the law was enacted, the World Bank deployed a team to Uganda to review our portfolio in the context of the new legislation. “That review determined additional measures are necessary to ensure projects are implemented in alignment with our environmental and social standards. Our goal is to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects we finance. These measures are currently under discussion with the authorities,” the statement from the international lender states.
As a result of the above review therefore, the World Bank asserts that; “No new public financing to Uganda will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors until the efficacy of the additional measures has been tested.”
The World Bank also noted in the statement that following this decision; “Third-party monitoring and grievance redressal mechanisms will significantly increase, allowing us to take corrective action as necessary.”
The statement concludes by reiterating the Bank’s current position in as far as Uganda is concerned by stating thus; “The World Bank Group has a longstanding and productive relationship with Uganda; and we remain committed to helping all Ugandans—without exception—escape poverty, access vital services, and improve their lives.”
It should be noted that in May this year, President Museveni signed a bill criminalizing same sex conduct in Uganda, which stipulates a death penalty for thot convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” plus lengthy jail terms for all those deemed offenders.
However, several human rights organisations both in Uganda and abroad came out to criticise the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, pointing out that it violates multiple fundamental rights guaranteed underUganda’s constitution, and breaks commitments made by the government as a signatory to a number of international human rights agreements.
Human rights activists also argued that the law discriminates against people with disabilities, contrary to Uganda’s constitution, by making the offence of homosexuality aggravated if the “victim” has a disability, thereby denying persons with disabilities the capacity to consent to sex.
More still, anyone advocating for the rights of LGBT people, including representatives of human rights organizations or those providing financial support to organizations that do so, are liable to face upto 20 years’ imprisonment for the “promotion of homosexuality.”
The Anti-Gay law has however resulted into a number of rebuttals since its implementation, which include the cancellation of Travel Visas to America and the United Kingdom for several government officials, suspension of international financial aid by the USA to various state-run institutions, plus the closure of a number of international human rights advocacies,among them the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR).
However, by press time, neither the Ministry Of Finance and Economic Planning nor the Bank of Uganda had issued a statement about the World Bank decision.
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