Stop aid to homophobic countries says Tatchell

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Peter Tatchell has called for all international aid to be stopped if it is going to a country with a homophobic agenda.

Speaking to the crowd at the San Diego Pride Human Rights Vigil on Friday 18 July, veteran human rights campaigner Mr Tatchell called for an end to aid for, “viciously homophobic countries like Jamaica, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Iraq and Nigeria.”

“Tyrannies should not be rewarded: No US aid for anti-gay regimes,” Mr. Tatchell said.

In 2003 the Bush administration pledged $20 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq, according to Forbes magazine.

The reconstruction of Iraq is the largest rebuilding taken on by the US since the Marshall plan helped to rebuild post WW2 Europe.

Under Saddam Hussein’s regime sodomy was criminalised in 2001. However, there were no recorded executions or imprisonments.

It is only in recent years that militias have sought and murdered members of the Iraqi LGBT community.

The US also pledged $15 billion to curb the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria.

Homosexuality is a punishable offence under the strict Sharia law that governs the West African country. Gay men can be handed down a sentence of 14 years imprisonment, or 100 lashes for unmarried men and 1 years imprisonment and death by stoning for married men caught in homosexual acts.

In 2004 US aid to Uganda reached $65 million, of that $56 million was donated as emergency food for Ugandans affected by conflict.

The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni recently branded homosexuality a “negative foreign culture.”

Since President Museveni’s time in office began, Uganda’s LGBT community has been subject to violent attacks and harassment. Many have fled the country and are now claiming asylum in Europe.

US aid to Pakistan in 2006 reached $2.8 million and was used to support a national health survey to improve health care in country.

In Pakistan having an alternative sexuality to heterosexuality can lead to life imprisonment, and Gay Nigerians face 14 years in prison.

In Jamaica, a recent survey found anti-gay statements made by the Prime Minister Bruce Golding, had boosted his popularity.

70% of the country do not believe in equal rights for the LGBT community.

After Hurricane Ivan devastated the Caribbean Island of Jamaica in 2005, the year before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the US donated $18 million in aid to help Jamaica recover.

Mr Tatchell also hit out at homophobia within the United States. He called for a boycott of all Hyatt hotels after owner Douglas Manchester for helping to fund proposition 8, the move to ban same sex marriage in California.

The international hotelier has three hotels in the UK, two of which are in London.

Protesters, including Tatchell, picketed the San Diego Hyatt hotel on Saturday. One protester said Hyatt “put so much money into advertising this hotel in gay magazines, and it’s a huge slap in the face.”