445,000 people urge Citibank and Barclays to condemn Uganda’s anti-gay bill

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More than 445,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Citibank and Barclays to condemn Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Both banks have a presence in the African country, which is pushing ahead with plans to implement a draconian anti-gay law that may still seek to prescribe the death penalty for LGBT people in certain circumstances.

The original draft of the legislation includes a provision for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, defined as someone with HIV engaging in homosexual acts; sex with a minor; or repeat offenders.

According to Change.org, a financial report from 2010 showed Citibank has almost $300 million (£187 million) in assets invested in Uganda.

Barclays, Uganda’s third largest bank, has more than 1,000 employees and 51 branches throughout the country.

Collin Burton, a gay Citibank customer from Washington DC, said he launched the petition because he does not want his money to support a government that could potentially execute people for being gay.

“As world banks and heavy players in Uganda, Citibank and Barclays have a unique responsibility to speak out and help stop this dangerous legislation before it becomes law,” said Mr Burton.

“Now, perhaps more than ever before, we need the international business community to step up and lead by the corporate values they tout on their websites. Human lives are counting on it.”

The issue of halting financial support towards Uganda has been in the spotlight over the past few days.

On Monday, Mike Freer, a gay Conservative MP said that the UK Government should stop giving aid to Uganda if it passes the proposed bill.

Earlier this month, Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis said that the EU must also stop aid to the country if it goes ahead with homophobic legislation.

Citibank and Barclays are well known for their LGBT-supporting credentials. Both banks received a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2012.

Barclays, a UK-based bank, has also been a long-term supporter of gay rights charity Stonewall.

However, last month that relationship came under strain with Barclays urging Stonewall to drop its controversial “Bigot of the Year” category at its annual awards ceremony.