US suspends some aid to Uganda over anti-gay law

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The United States has suspended some of its aid to Uganda’s ministry of health as a response to President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to sign anti-gay legislation.

Following the recent decision of several countries and the World Bank to halt aid donations destined for the Ugandan Government, the US has now cut a portion of its reported $400 million aid fund.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last month his country was intent reviewing its relations with Uganda following the passage of anti-gay laws.

On Thursday, a senior US government official told Reuters: “As a result of this review process, a portion of the U.S. Centre for Disease Control’s (CDC) cooperative agreement with the Ministry of Health has been put on hold pending this review.”

The official did not say how much aid was withheld, but added the CDC had spent $3.9 million (£2.35 million) on a ministry of health program last year.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands became the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda following the decision to sign the bill by Museveni.

The Netherlands has stopped around £6 million in aid money which was intended for Uganda’s legal system, as the country did not want to contribute to the persecution of gay people.

Norway and Denmark have also said they will redirect aid directly to human rights groups, rather than the government.

Human rights campaigners have warned that general aid cuts to Uganda should be avoided, encouraging instead “urgent review of aid to organisations and government institutions that have failed to demonstrate respect for human rights.”