Earlier this week, the Obama administration confirmed a series of cuts in aid to Uganda in response to the countries Anti-LGBT laws that were recently passed. The cuts came after Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the Human Rights Campaign in Los Angeles promoting LGBT rights domestically and abroad. Biden said that rights abroad were going to be a focus of American foreign policy.
“Find me a country in the world that singles out a set of citizens, and I’ll guarantee you that country is where justice does not live,” Biden said Saturday.
“In every aspect of American foreign policy, we should have as the focus in our foreign policy that we lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. That’s what makes us different. That’s what makes us strong.”
According to a White House blog post by Grant Harris, special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs on the National Security Council, and Stephen Pomper, senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Council, the following actions have been taken:
- We are shifting funding away from partners whose actions don’t reflect our values, including the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU). The IRCU’s public stance on homosexuality could foster an atmosphere of discrimination that runs counter to efforts to provide an effective and non-discriminatory response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. While the IRCU will receive $2.3 million to ensure uninterrupted delivery of treatment to the 50,000 people under its care, we will shift the remaining $6.4 million of IRCU’s funding to other partners.
- An effective HIV strategy must reach and treat key at-risk populations. However, the act’s provisions against “promotion” and abetting homosexuality leave questions about what researchers, health workers, and others may do under the law. As a result, we are suspending the start of a survey to estimate the size of key at-risk populations that was to be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Uganda’s Makarere University. Proceeding with the survey could pose a danger to respondents and staff.
- The act potentially threatens the safety of LGBT tourists in Uganda and the liberty of those who show support for Uganda’s LGBT community. Therefore, approximately $3 million in funding designated for tourism and biodiversity promotion will be redirected to NGOs working on biodiversity protection.
- We will shift the Department of Defense-sponsored Africa Air Chiefs Symposium and East Africa Military Intelligence Non-Commissioned Officer course to locations outside of Uganda. Certain near-term invitational travel for Ugandan military and police has been suspended or canceled.
In Uganda, violators of the law face a 14-year prison sentence for a second conviction, and up to life in prison for repeat offenses.