The World Bank Group has said that it will not roll out new funds to Uganda until they review the anti-homosexuality law that that it enacted.
In a statement on Tuesday, August 8, the World Bank called out Uganda for enacting a law fighting homosexuality.
“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 statement read.
Furthermore, Bank has expressed dissatisfaction in Uganda for ratifying the Anti-Homosexuality Act as it does not align with the Banks values.
“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values,” the statement read.
The Bank went ahead to state that its vision to end poverty is an inclusive goal targeting everyone without discrimination, and the Anti-Homosexuality Law does not cater for that.
“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 World Bank said.
Immediately after Uganda enacted the Anti-Homosexuality Law the World Bank deployed a team to Kampala to review its portfolio in the context of the new legislation.
“The 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 read.
Moreover, the World Bank revealed that the third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms would significantly increase, allowing the Bank to take corrective action, as necessary.
Similarly, the global lender acknowledged its long relationship with Uganda and hoped to continue working together to eradicate poverty.
“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,” World Bank said.
Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023 is an act of the Parliament of Uganda that restricts freedom of speech on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBT) civil rights and introduces harsher penalties for certain types of homosexual acts.
On March 21, 2023, the bill was read a third time, and was then sent to President Yoweri Museveni for assent.
Furthermore, on April 21, 2023, President Museveni returned it to Parliament, which passed it again with minor amendments on 2 May before signing it into law.
The Act prescribes life imprisonment for gay sex and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.
The latter offence includes “serial offenders”, same-sex rape, sex in a position of authority or procured by intimidation, sex with persons older than seventy-five, sex with the disabled and mentally ill, and homosexual acts committed by a person with a previous conviction of homosexuality.
Further, under its provisions, the promotion (including normalization) of homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years and fines.
The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the European Union, as well as several local and international NGOs condemned the law.