US House committee approves measure for aid cut to anti-gay countries

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A US House committee has approved a measure which would discourage aid to homophobic countries like Uganda.

The amendment to the House Financial Services Committee bill was tabled by Democrat representative Barney Frank, who is gay.

It reads: “The Committee urges Treasury to advocate that governments receiving assistance from the multilateral development institutions do not engage in gross violations of human rights, for example, the denial of freedom of religion, including the right to choose one’s own religion, and physical persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Mr Frank cited Uganda as an example of a country which receives US aid but persecutes gay people. His amendment was approved with almost unanimous support, The Advocate reports.

Last month, a British Conservative politician said that EU financial aid to African countries should depend on their commitment to gay and human rights.

Dr Charles Tannock, the foreign affairs and human rights spokesman for the Tories in Europe, said: “Financial aid to African countries must be reciprocated with progress on fundamental human rights on that continent.”

Many African countries criminalise homosexuality. Ugandan politicians are expected to begin debate next month on a bill which would punish “aggravated” cases with the death penalty.