Zambia and Zimbabwe appear to reject gay rights “pressure” on aid

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Zambian and Zimbabwean officials have said their countries will not enact gay rights laws in order for their governments to receive British aid.

Government minister Given Lubinda said the Zambia would only enact laws supported by its citizens and in line with their culture.

He said: “David Cameron must be reminded of what we agreed when we met in Paris for the Paris Declaration. When we met in Ghana, we came up with the Accra Agenda for Action and both those declarations are that no country will use its aid to influence the policies of an aid receiving country.”

Speaking to Zambia’s Hot FM Radio, he continued: “It is wrong for Mr Cameron to try and use aid as a way of influencing policies and laws of Zambia. Zambia will not be pressured to formulate laws or policies by any foreign government.”

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, one political party leader said chances for gay rights protection were “zero”, despite Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s assertion that gay rights are “human rights” last month.

Welshman Ncube is the leader of MDC-M, who make up around 5 percent of Zimbabwe’s House of Assembly, but said the view was widely held.

Ncube was meeting with church leaders in Bulawayo last week when he said the views of the people were clear and they did not support gay rights in the constitution, The Zimbabwean reports.

He said: “If you look at the constitution data today, the people said no to protecting gay rights and I think chances are zero”.

“If we listen to the views of people who attended COPAC [constitutional select committee] meetings, it is clear that they said no to gay rights.”

However, Mr Cameron’s announcement about how the status of gay rights could affect a country’s aid does not reflect a change of essential policy, as LGBT rights have historically fallen under the head of human rights and have always been expected to be recognised by aid-receiving countries.

Instead, the stricter implementation of the Department for International Development’s existing guidelines would see a reduction in General Budget Support, the aid that is sent directly to overseas governments, in favour of alternative funding mechanisms if those governments are not seen to recognise all human rights.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government is at the forefront of work to promote human rights around the world, and regularly criticises Governments which violate those rights.

“This includes working to end religious intolerance, and persecution and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexuality.

“Our new approach, set out in detail in July this year, means we only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty; respect human rights; improve public financial management; fight corruption; and promote good governance and transparency.”

The government intends to reduce the amount given in General Budget Support to foreign governments from 16% of bilateral foreign aid in 2009/10 to 9% in 2014/15.

Ugandan and Ghanaian governments have already signalled that they will not legislate to protect gays.