Sweden cuts aid to Uganda over anti-gay legislation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Following the lead of several countries last week, Sweden announced today that it would cut its planned aid to Uganda over recently introduced anti-gay legislation.

Sweden cut 6.5 million kronor’s worth of aid (£600,000) to Uganda’s government over the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law last week by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Sebastian Tham, foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the cuts on Wednesday.

“The government reaffirms its strong condemnation of the Ugandan legislation that violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people,” Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engstroem said.

“Swedish aid is not unconditional. That’s why the government has decided to withhold state-to-state payments,” she went on.

The country will still send aid to NGOs, and organisations not linked to the Government.

“We want to support homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people in Uganda through Swedish aid via other channels,” she continued.

In 2013, Swedish aid to Uganda totalled around 225 million kronor (£20 million).

New guidance was yesterday issued on how best to support Uganda’s LGBT community following assent of the Anti-Homosexuality Law with campaigners warning that general aid cuts to Uganda should be avoided.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands become the first three countries this week to cut their aid to Uganda.

In response, Ugandan Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo tweeted: “The West can keep their ‘aiid’ [sic] to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it”.

The UK Government confirmed to PinkNews on Tuesday that it only gives aid to NGOs in Uganda and not the country’s government.