UK will not cut aid to Uganda following anti-gay law

Despite yesterday's decision by the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to sign a bill into law that makes homosexual 'touching' punishable by up to life imprisonment, the UK will be continuing its international aid donations to the country.

While the UK's direct aid to Uganda had already been cut last November following a corruption scandal, the £97.9 million that is earmarked for Uganda in this year's budget will merely be sent by other routes.

"The UK remains committed to supporting the people of Uganda," said a spokesperson for the Department for International Development speaking in the Guardian.

Other European countries are not willing to be so forgiving. Norway has said it will be withholding its £4.8 million of developmental aid.

Austria has said it will be reviewing its assistance, while Denmark will be halting the £5.39 million it normally sends to the Ugandan government.

The Danish trade and development minister, Mogens Jensen, was quoted in the Guardian as saying: "We cannot distance ourselves too strongly from the law and the signal that the Ugandan government now sends to not only persecuted minority groups, but to the whole world."

The US has not commented explicitly on whether it will join those cutting off aid to Uganda, but President Barack Obama has said the legislation "will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda".

American Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement quoted by the Special Broadcast Service: "Much of US assistance to Uganda is for the people of Uganda, including those in the Ugandan LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community whose human rights are being so tragically violated.

"We need to closely review all US assistance to Uganda, including through the World Bank and other multilateral organisations."

The US currently gives Uganda £240 million in annual aid, and the Pentagon has provided 120 US military advisers and £60 million of training, weapons and supplies since 2011.

White House spokesman Jay Carney was quoted by SBS as saying: "We are undertaking a review of our relationship with Uganda in light of this decision."

While the Ugandan government has reduced its aid dependence in recent years, and it is expected that newly discovered oil will be bringing in new revenue by 2016, it is still a large recipient of international aid.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, Uganda received £960 million of aid in 2011, making it the world's 20th largest aid recipient.

The World Bank's estimate places it higher, at 16th, just below Haiti and above Bangladesh.

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