In a surprising move that has left pro-gay advocacy groups stunned, the European Union (EU) has declared its intention to maintain its financial support to Uganda, even after the enactment of the highly controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, released a written statement to the European Parliament, emphasizing that cutting off financial assistance to Uganda due to the law’s punitive measures against specific same-sex activities would adversely affect vulnerable communities.
The statement read, “At this moment, the EU considers that a suspension of EU financial support to Uganda would deprive the most vulnerable populations, including LGBTQI persons, from vital support. Disengagement by the EU would also create gaps which may be further filled by other players who do not share EU values.”
Ms. Urpilainen further stated, “Therefore, the EU will continue to use all opportunities of engagement with the Ugandan authorities and civil society, including in the context of its development cooperation and broader partnership, to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, are treated equally.”
This decision by the EU brings relief to Ugandan authorities, as Western allies, including the United States and the World Bank, have expressed their disapproval of the Ugandan government’s stance on the anti-gay law. President Museveni and his government have openly defied the pressure, with the EU now standing out as one of the top funders of Uganda’s development projects.
Gay rights activist Dr. Frank Mugisha called on the EU to reallocate its financial assistance to ensure that individuals promoting discrimination and hatred against LGBTQI people do not benefit from EU funds. He stressed that the EU’s response should focus on protecting queer minorities in Africa and combating discriminatory laws like Uganda’s.
While the EU continues its financial support, the international community remains divided on how best to address the human rights violations caused by anti-LGBTQI legislation in Uganda.