Tag Archives: Ugandan

World Bank Refuses To Fund To Projects That Endanger LGBT People Lives

The President of the World Bank has opened up about a decision to cut off lending to projects in developing countries, which could endanger LGBT rights.

Speaking at the Economist’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ conference, taking place in London, New York and Hong Kong, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim discussed a proposal to reign in lending to projects that could end up harming LGBT rights.

Explaining why the bank cut off lending after Uganda passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act, he said:

In 2014 the Ugandans had passed a law, and it was quite a bit more draconian than a lot of the laws that exist: it said homosexuality would be punished with life imprisonment, but it became a requirement that anyone who suspects others of homosexuality had to report that also.

Right at that moment we were about to approve a $90 million loan to support health clinics in Uganda.

I worked as a doctor, and this is an important issue for me… but we looked carefully and we found out that it was possible that active discrimination could happen in these clinics, and because of the requirement to report homosexual behaviour, gay men and women could go to these clinics… and we could actually endanger people from the LGBTI community, so we had to stop that loan.”

He added:

A lot of people came out and told me I was crazy. The critiques made a lot of sense to a lot of people… a lot of my own staff were [against it].

At the time there were 81 countries with these laws, so what does this mean for our ability to loan to any country in the world that has these kinds of laws?

We are not allowed to make political judgements, and that’s not what we’re doing.

We’re trying to look at another principle that is important, that that principle is that if something we support leads not only to discrimination but endangerment, don’t we as an institution have to stand up and say ‘no’?”

He continued:

There were a lot of countries who condemned Uganda… but the money still flowed. We were the only ones who stopped the flow of money.

The Ugandans were very angry about this… but [I told the board] I felt it was very important to take this stand.

One of the questions was, what would be the implication of taking that kind of action? Well, our business has exploded since then. The Ugandans have repealed that law – the court found it unconstitutional.

But probably the most encouraging thing was a minister of finance from a developing country came and insisted on seeing me one-on-one, and I didn’t know what it was… he came in and said the Prime Minister wanted me to know there was draconian legislation on homosexual activity going through the Parliament, but he wanted to assure me he would veto it, and it would never become law.

I had to take my own stand on this, and use the rules and regulations of the institution to push the agenda as far as I could.”

Speaking about progress to draw up a consistent policy, he said:

One of the things that we’ve done is that we’ve put into a new version of the draft safeguards explicit language that says discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated.

This is new and it’s not passed yet – I push as far as I can, but I have to step back because this is a 70 year old institution with laws and regulations and procedures, and so this is a decision that will ultimately be made by the board.

But we’ve put them in there, and we are committed to continuing to look at every single thing that we do, to see if our lending is leading to discrimination or even endangerment [of LGBT people].”

He said:

It’s not done yet – but we’re looking at every possible way to increase our surveillance, so that we know when something we do is leading to discrimination or endangerment.”

He compared the issue to existing measures to prohibit lending to corrupt countries, recalling that opponents argued “so many countries are corrupt that if you start talking about corruption, we’ll have no more countries to lend to.”

The exec added:

It’s exactly the same argument… you can’t do it all at once.

But over a 20 year period, we’ve refined and refined and refined and now have a whole system for detecting corruption in our projects.

We have no illusion that we’ve eliminated corruption from every project… but we have a good system in place. That first step was important.”

He said:

As a minimum, we have to stop a loan that can either discriminate or endanger – and we’ve never had that discussion before inside the World Bank.

It’s a first step… we definitely have not got the data we would like to have, but we’re going to contribute and participate, and work with others who are doing this kind of research and move forward this agenda.”

He also spoke about the risks that countries may opt to get lending from other sources – with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe pledging to reject filthy aid money” that comes with strings attached on LGBT rights.

Jim Yong Kim said:

The kinds of things we do are a result of our very specific strengths – not only knowledge about the specific aspects of development, but also the know-how to get projects from here to there.”

He added that the World Bank also works to provide benefits and safeguards for LGBT employees anywhere in the world.

The exec explained:

There are some challenges in some of these countries – and any country that we open a new office in, we negotiate very aggressively that we have certain standards about how we treat same-sex partners, and we need to come to some agreement with the host country in terms of how to handle it.

It’s not perfect – we have to often do things informally, but our a very strong commitment to all of our employees is that we will treat same-sex partners in the same way that we would treat opposite-sex partners.”

The World Bank is an international financial institution that specialises in provides loans to developing countries for projects, assisting in their development and creating infrastructure to help tackle poverty.

Uganda’s President Says He Will Not Pursue Further Anti-Gay Legislation In The Country

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has declared that he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation, after previous attempts to strengthen the country’s anti LGBT legislation were defeated.


Museveni told reporters last week.

That law was not necessary, because we already have a law which was left by the British which deals with this issue.”

The long-standing leader signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill last February. The law called for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and to make it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

However, the country’s Constitutional Court later struck down the bill, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

Uganda’s dreadfully homophobic legislation already punishes gay sex with up to life imprisonment under a colonial-era anti-sodomy law. Same-sex marriage is also banned as part of the country’s constitution.

An asylum seeker from Uganda covers his face with a paper bag in order to protect his identity as he marches with the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force during the Gay Pride Parade in Boston

The law was heavily criticised in the west, with the US announcing sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of the law.

In July, a Ugandan presidential candidate made history – by affirming that he opposes homophobia.

With the 2016 election approaching, former prime minister Amama Mbazazi stated that he opposes homophobia – making him one of the only Ugandan politicians to ever do so.

Last month, a small but visible group of people took to the streets of Uganda to celebrate Pride – a year since the controversial anti-gay law was scrapped.



Watch | Growing Up LGBT In East Africa

None on Record is a digital media organisation working to document stories from LGBT communities in Africa.

Founded in 2006 by Selly Thiam – herself a Senegalese lesbian living in the U.S. – the project began as a way of collecting oral histories of LGBT Africans.

In the collection of intimate clips below, participants ranging from an executive chef and a Legal Officer at Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to the Executive Coordinator of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, and Ugandan transgender activist and scientist Cleopatra Kambugu, share their stories of coming out and messages for African LGBT youth.

The organisation previously produced a series focused on LGBT Africans seeking asylum in the UK, and in October 2015 they have plans to host a three-day cultural arts festival in Nairobi.

There is still much violence perpetrated against LGBT people. People deal with extortion by police, lack of access to health care and employment. LGBT people face illegal evictions from their homes and being ostracized by families and communities. Some religious leaders add fuel to the fire by actively preaching against LGBT people, calling it a lifestyle, unAfrican and perverse. Still, there is a vibrant LGBT community in Kenya that is becoming more visible everyday. There are active organisations working towards equality.”

Selly Thiam

Kendi Magiri, Kenya


Njeri Gateru, Kenya


Lorna Dias, Kenya


Cleopatra Kambugu, Uganda


Ugandan LGBTs Who Fled to Kenya Still Feel in Danger

When a Ugandan court overturned the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act this month, rights activists worldwide claimed a victory. But not gay Ugandans who fled persecution to live in a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.

“The reaction shocked me. I went there. I thought it would be a celebration, but … nothing. They knew at an international level and at the diplomatic level, the decision is going to have impact, but at the local level, it won’t really. You can overrule the law, but you can’t overrule the mind.”

Brizan Ogollan

Of the 155,000 refugees at Kakuma camp, 35 are registered with the U.N. refugee agency as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans who fled because of the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which became law in February.

The now-overturned law called for life jail sentences for those convicted of gay sex and criminalized vague offenses like “attempted homosexuality” and “promoting homosexuality” in a country where being gay has long been illegal.

Since the law was first proposed in 2009, public opinion in Uganda has grown increasingly anti-gay, said Geoffrey Ogwaro, a coordinator for the Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which is based in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Many gay Ugandans have lived in constant fear of arrest. Some were imprisoned. Landlords evicted tenants. One man tried to run over his gay son with a car, Ogwaro said.

“Unfortunately, the law’s nullification has actually polarized society more,”

Geoffrey Ogwaro

Members of parliament have started petitions to resurrect the legislation, although President Yoweri Museveni is reported to have requested the parliamentarians to reconsider.

Three years ago, when a 26-year-old gay Ugandan man was caught with another man, his stepfather threatened to report him to authorities and he fled to Nairobi. “I thought, `No one loves you in your family,'” said the man, who insisted on anonymity because of fears for his safety.

With little money in his pocket, he could not afford to stay in the Kenyan capital. He registered with the U.N.’s refugee agency, and for three years he has waited in Kakuma camp for refugee status, which would make him eligible for resettlement in a new country.

The man does not want to stay in Kenya, where same-sex conduct is also illegal, and where a bill recently introduced in parliament proposes that foreign gays be stoned to death. He continued to face harassment in Kakuma but at least he got support from fellow gay Ugandans, he said.

“For the first time, I met these people who were just like me. You think to yourself, `OK, I’m not alone.’ At least I felt there was someone who understood me.”

But last month he left for Nairobi because he thought the camp had grown too hostile. A Ugandan refugee was hospitalized in June after another refugee hurled stones and slurs at him, said Anthony Oluoch, executive director of the Gay Kenya Trust.

Recognizing the risks for LGBT refugees, the U.N. refugee agency said it is prioritizing their cases for resettlement.

The 26-year-old gay Ugandan has been trying to find work, but few employers in Nairobi are willing to hire a refugee. Two of his seven roommates have turned to prostitution. The house keeps a special fund for bribing police officers if they are arrested, he said.

Kenyan police could legally send him back to Kakuma. Some police officers have even deported asylum seekers back to Uganda against their will, said Neela Ghoshal, an LGBT rights researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“There’s no place in Kenya where I really think they can live freely and safely. They’re basically set up for a lot of bad options in life.”

Neela Ghoshal

Can You Believe It? LGBTs Flee to Most Homophobic Country on Earth

An LGBT person would have to be pretty desperate to seek asylum in Uganda, a nation that has arguably the toughest anti-gay laws in the world. But incredibly, nearly 100 gay and lesbian refugees are seeking assistance from an NGO in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Many more are in the country illegally.

These refugees are fleeing from oppression in nations like Burundi and war situations such as the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which, they argue, put them in greater jeopardy than trying to lead a clandestine existence in Uganda.

The risk they are taking is immense: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is still being debated and may soon introduce the death penalty for homosexual acts. It is already a crime to “advocate” gay and lesbian behaviour and LGBTs are regularly sentenced to life imprisonment for daring to be open and free.

Employees of the NGO – which cannot be named in this article – have been threatened and beaten up for their efforts to help the refugees. One such employee, “David”, says that, although it seems odd that gay and lesbian Africans would come to Uganda in search of a better life, it is certainly an improvement on wherever they came from originally. ‘There is a proverb in my country,’ he says. ‘”If you see a rat running from a bush into a hut that is burning, that means it could be hotter in the bush.”‘

One of the asylum-seekers is a trans gentleman who escaped from his native Rwanda after he was grievously assaulted by a gang of policemen. He was permanently disabled by the attack and must use a crutch to this day. Since his arrival in Uganda, he spends as much time as he can close to nature. ‘The trees do not hate me or reject me,’ he says.

Image source

20 Years After Rwanda Will Gay People Be Next?

All across Africa people are commemorating the Rwandan genocide which took place twenty years ago this month. Over a million members of the Tutsi ethnic group and many moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the tragedy. Speaking on the anniversary, current President of Rwanda Paul Kagame said, ‘All genocides begin with an ideology, a system of ideas that says this group of people here are less than human and deserve to be exterminated.’

While Rwanda is now a peaceful nation wherein such terrible crimes are unlikely to happen again, the kind of hatred Kagame warned against lives on across Africa, except that it now goes by a different name: homophobia. One of the dignitaries who heard Kagame’s speech was Ugandan premier Yoweri Museveni, whose government violently persecutes the LGBT community. Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia, has compared the gay community to ‘vermin’ and demanded that gay people leave the country under pain of being ‘wiped out like mosquitoes’. During his recent 90th birthday celebrations, Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe, called for the castration and beheading of gays because he views them as little better than ‘pigs or dogs’.

The fire of gay hatred in Africa is stoked by scientific ignorance, fundamentalist religion and colonial-era legislation. The media circulates myths about Western countries promoting gay rights in order to undermine African family values. LGBT citizens are often seen as criminals and deviants, to be blamed for exacerbating the AIDS crisis.

But just as the Rwandan genocide can partly be blamed on the European colonisers who provoked ethnic tensions between the Tutsis and Hutus as early as the 1880s, so Africa’s modern homophobia owes something to present-day American evangelical missionaries.

For this reason, better moral leadership from the United States could help to make life easier for LGBT Africans, especially given that ex-President Bill Clinton has always claimed that failing to stop the Rwanda crimes was his greatest regret. Attacks on gay people in Africa have increased dramatically and some commentators are wondering whether, in the near future, a new genocide could happen – only this time against the LGBT community.


Image source – Photographs of people who were killed during the 1994 genocide are seen inside the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum as the country prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in the Rwandan capital Kigali April 5, 2014. An estimated 800,000 people were killed in 100 days during the genocide. (Noor Khamis/Reuters)

The United States Making Steps To Tackle Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

United States are looking in shifting money away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, a group that has publicly come out in support of the anti-gay law and has received millions of dollars in grants from the United States to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

They are also considering funding towards tourism programs. Why? Well any LGBT person or LGBT ally who now enters Uganda is at risk of being persecuted.

As well as this, the Department of Defense had several events scheduled in the country later this spring and those will be moved to other locations. “Certain near-term invitational travel” for Ugandan military and police personnel has also been suspended or canceled.

“If aid is just cut in general terms, the local person is going to suffer. This includes LGBTI people. It will promote the isolation of the LGBTI community and we will continue to be marginalized. People like David Bahati that have been promoting homophobia are going to go on the radio and say, ‘Look, people are dying because of the homosexuals. We can’t have medicine in hospitals because of homosexuals. We can’t have good water because of homosexuals.’ These are government responsibilities but because our economy hasn’t reached a point where President Museveni can support this, we are still depending on foreign aid. We need to look at sectors where the government will feel a direct pinch. If that funding that the US gives to the army, if that were stopped, then that would have a direct effect. Donor countries should rethink and go back to the drawing table and look at how they could actually fund.”

Richard Lusimbo


Their is concern that these aid is cut due to the anti-homosexuality bill,  will have a trickle down effect on Ugandan taxpayers and effect the countries economy.

Ethiopia to Pass a Bill to Make Homosexuality Non-pardonable Offense

Last week the Associated Press reported that Politicians in Ethiopia are set to pass a bill that would put homosexuality on a list of offences considered non-pardonable under the country’s amnesty law. This bill is being endorsed by Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers, is widely expected to pass when it is put to a vote next week.

In Ethiopia, same-sex sexual activity is already illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the bill becomes law, the President of Ethiopia Mulatu Teshome, will lose his power to pardon prisoners who faced charges. A 25-year jail term is also prescribed for anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during gay sex.

Sadly, Ethiopia is the following in the footsteps of Uganda and Nigeria, two countries which have both recently strengthened their anti-gay legislation.

Human Rights Advocates Challenge Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law In Court

Human rights advocates and Uganda opposition politicians filed a lawsuit against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act on Tuesday. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which President Yoweri Museveni signed into law on February 24, imposes up to a life sentence for homosexuality and criminalises advocating LGBT rights.

The petitioners include activists Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda, trans activist Julian Pepe Onziema, former Ugandan opposition leader Ogenga Latigo, and Member of Parliament Fox Odoi. The suit argues that the law violates the right to equality before the law under the Ugandan constitution, as well as the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and association. It also notes that parliament lacked a quorum when it voted in favor of the bill on December 20.

A Vatican Official Has Criticised Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said Tuesday that “homosexuals are not criminals” and shouldn’t be sentenced for up to life in prison. Speaking to reporters in Bratislava where he attended a conference on the Catholic Church and human rights, Turkson said the Vatican also calls on the international community to keep providing aid.

Uganda has been hit with substantial aid cuts in reaction to the law and the World Bank has now postponed a $90 million loan for Uganda’s health systems.

Pope Francis has made a point of reaching out to gays, famously saying: “Who am I to judge?”

Watch Whoopi Goldberg Calls for Global Solidarity with LGBT Ugandans and Nigerians

Today, artist and humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg released a video with the Human Rights Campaign with a message for the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria, “you’re on the wrong side of history.”

“It isn’t right to imprison someone for who they are, for who they love.”

Whoopi Goldberg

In her message, Goldberg highlights the disturbing reality that members of LGBT NGOs “like the Human Rights Campaign” could now be subject to prison sentences in both Uganda and Nigeria. She also criticizes Ugandan and Nigerian officials for listening to the rhetoric of anti-LGBT hate mongers from the U.S. who have promoted these policies abroad.

“I’m asking people to show their solidarity. Share this – let people know what’s going on in the world because you can’t stand by.”

Whoopi Goldberg


The UK has confirmed no aid will go to Ugandan Government

The Department for International Development has confirmed that the only aid money spent by Britain in Uganda will go to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organisations, rather than the Ugandan Government. This means the aid money is spent on helping the people of Uganda without funding the country’s legal and political system.

“We ended all budget support payments to the Ugandan government last year. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds and Justine Greening has been clear that governments receiving UK aid need to meet a specific set of principles, including human rights.”

– DfID spokesman:

DfID confirmed that aid was cut to Uganda’s Government last year due to a corruption scandal, but reiterated that the human rights concerns raised by the Anti-Homosexuality Act would most likely deem it ineligible to receive aid.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have also confirmed they will cut their aid to Uganda following the decision to sign the bill by Museveni.

The United States and Sweden have said they are now reviewing their relations with Uganda, following the President’s decision to sign anti-gay legislation. Also, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for an end to a political agreement with Uganda over the law.


Sad times – Ugandan President has signed an anti-homosexuality bill

Post Update – Please visit www.allout.org and sign this petition 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed an anti-homosexuality bill that includes harsh penalties for homosexual sex.

The new law says that first-time offenders will be sentenced 14 years in jail. Offenders of “aggravated homosexuality” will receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Although the government officials applauded the bill’s signing and despite its apparent popularity among Ugandans, some European countries have threatened to cut aid to the country because of the bill.

The White House released the following statement..

Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.

We now wait to hear what other countries have to say about this