EU to Reconsider Aid Suspension Over Anti-Gay Law

1622 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
European partners have been assured that the law didn’t target to discriminate people in areas of employment, Education and Health, Kutesa said. As such they agreed to reconsider some of the harsh actions taken against Uganda.

European Union (EU) Member countries are considering a waiver on aid suspensions taken against Uganda over the now quashed anti-homosexuality law, Foreign Affairs Minister of Sam Kutesa has said.

The EU has been a major donor to Uganda, with more than Euros 460 million issued annually through different aid programmes. However the enactment of the anti-gay law early this year created uproar in many of the Bloc’s member states, which responded by suspending development aid.

Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Netherlands were some of the EU countries which suspended aid at the time, in protest of what they collectively reffered to as a human rights violation. But today, Kutesa explained that since the enactment in February, government has been engaging European countries and explaining that the law was trying to check promotion and exhibition of homosexuality.

European partners have been assured that the law didn’t target to discriminate people in areas of employment, Education and Health, Kutesa said. As such they agreed to reconsider some of the harsh actions taken against Uganda.

“European countries and the Swiss agreed to re-engage and reconsider the withholding of aid. The Americans only withheld US$4m, but touch the main support,” the minister said.

Kutesa was meeting the Parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs to defend the ministry’s budget for the FY 2014-2015 totaling to UGX 12.8bn this afternoon.
 
Meanwhile, Foreign affairs Permanent Secretary James Mugume told URN at Parliament, that the review by European countries has come after countries under Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States stood ground on respect of sovereignty.

“The decision was based on chapter two of the Cotonou Agreement where EU is asked to recognize Members states as partners with a view of cooperating as opposed to trampling values of independent states,” Mugume said. He added that EU had attempted to influence ACP states to sanction Uganda and Nigeria over the anti-gay laws.

The revelations however come just two days after constitutional court annulled the law saying it was passed without quorum in parliament. Parliament requires two thirds of members present when a vote is held, something court says was lacking on December 20, 2013 when the law was passed.

The court however did not rule on the underlying question of whether anti-LGBT laws violate basic human rights, and so the pre-existing sodomy code, which was imposed when Uganda was a British colony, remains in place.