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African LGBT Advocates Warn Against Cutting Multilateral Aid To Uganda

At a World Bank panel discussion in Washington, D.C., on homophobia in developing countries, LGBT advocates from Africa expressed concern that if multilateral development organizations cut aid to Uganda in protest of attempts to make homosexual acts crimes punishable by death, the human rights situation for them could worsen, the Washington Blade reports. If aid were cut, the government could blame LGBT people or view it as an imposition of homosexuality by Western nations, advocates said, the newspaper notes.

The Blade reports that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) “is among those calling on an end to multilateral development aid to Uganda should the country pass the bill.” The bill never made it to the full parliament for consideration, but “[i]nternational activists are fearful that the bill could come up again for a vote once the parliament reconvenes.” David Wilson, global HIV/AIDS program director at the World Bank, said, “I think it’s harder for multilateral organizations who represent all the governments of global member states to take a clear cut lead on issues like that, but I think we’d often like to,” adding, “I think it’s possible for the bilaterals to take a stronger stance than we are sometimes able to.”

The panel, sponsored by UNAIDS, World Bank GLOBE, Inter-American Development Bank GLOBE and the Council for Global Equality, marked the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (Johnson, 5/18). Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement to mark the day, “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs” (5/17).

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