More than $40 million of foreign aid from multiple countries has been given to anti-LGBTQ groups in Uganda since 2014, a new report claims.
A report by the Institute for Journalism and Social Change (IJSC) outlines which countries have founded groups like the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).
The conservative group has been supporting anti-LGBTQ laws for over a decade.
In February, IRCU expressed “great concern” over “the growing spread of homosexuality” in Uganda.
A few weeks later and the anti-homosexuality bill was introduced into parliament, 387 out of 389 MPs voted in favour.
Consensual queer relations are also criminalised in the new bill and could result in a 10-year prison sentence. Additionally, the bill includes a duty on people to report gay individuals, even friends and family members.
Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said: “President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto this appalling legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening.”
Chagutah describes the bill as “deeply repressive” and warns it will “institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people.
However, President Yoweri Museveni declined to sign the bill into law and requested the parliament review its details for “improvement.”
Furthermore, the report said that the UK aid-funded programme “Uganda – Open Society” has received £134,900 since 2021. The programme is due to operate until 2024.
The grant is supposed to fund human rights work and “democratic participation and civil society, media and free flow of information.”
“Uganda must respect human rights, uphold the values of the Commonwealth Charter”
The UK donated more to projects involving homophobic groups in Uganda than any other European backer, the report said.
Grants to Ugandan homophobic religious groups aren’t just coming from the UK. Other countries include the US, Finland, Germany, and Italy. Denmark, Ireland, and the EU are also noted.
In 2014, the Obama government reportedly withdrew aid from the IRCU after the group backed homophobic laws.
The Ugandan Parliament has previously tried to re-criminalise homosexuality after scrapping the 1950 Penal Act in 2014.
On Tuesday (25 April), in protest of Uganda’s homophobic bill, fifty LGBT+ activists and allies staged a vigil outside the Ugandan High Commission.
The crowd chanted “Museveni! Kill the bill” and “The world is watching! Kill the bill.”
Edwin Sesange of the African Equality Foundation said: “Uganda must respect human rights, uphold the values of the Commonwealth Charter and stop exercising impunity and immunity with its persecution of LGBTI people.”
Sesange also called for signatures for a UK parliament petition demanding a travel ban on Ugandan MPs who voted for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
In response to Attitude’s request for comment a spokesperson for the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:
“The UK Government has long been at the forefront of promoting LGBT+ rights internationally and is concerned by the increasing criminalisation of LGBT+ persons in Uganda which threatens minority rights and risks persecution.
“All UK Aid partners are put through rigorous due diligence assessments before receiving any funding. The UK does not currently provide funding to the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.”