The World Bank has said it won’t provide new lending to Uganda as it takes action against the government for passing an anti-LGBTQ law.
Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law has been widely condemned by the international community and other human rights groups, but Uganda has refused to give in.
The law is one of the world’s harshest and allows for death penalty for persons considered serial offenders.
It also imposes a life sentence for same-sex intercourse and a 20-year sentence for promotion of homosexuality.
The World Bank said on Tuesday in a statement that it would now halt new lending to the Ugandan government on the back of the new law, which it said contradicts it values.
“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.
This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world,” the statement read.
According to the World Bank, immediately after Uganda passed the new law, the World Bank deployed a team to Uganda to review its 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,” it said.
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act contradicts the @WorldBank’s values. After reviewing our portfolio in the context of the new legislation, no new public financing will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors.
Read the full statement: https://t.co/ZuoOyT80OI
— World Bank (@WorldBank) August 8, 2023
Uganda has responded to the move by the World Bank said the move was unjust and hypocritical.
The East African country’s minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem asked why the World Bank was still lending to countries in the Middle East and Asia that have same or even harsher laws on homosexuality.
“There are many Middle East countries who do not tolerate homosexuals, they actually hang and execute homosexuals, in the United States of America many states have passed laws that are either against or restrict activities of homosexuality … so why pick on Uganda?” he said.
“The World Bank has been put under pressure by the usual imperialists.”