World Bank halts new loans to Uganda over anti-LGBTQ law

The World Bank has announced it will halt new loans to Uganda over the country’s controversial anti-LGBTQ law.

The Washington, DC-based lender mentioned in the text is likely the World Bank Group. The World Bank Group announced on Tuesday that it would temporarily halt project financing while it reviews measures it had implemented to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in its projects. The decision comes in response to concerns about an anti-LGBTQ law adopted in Uganda.

“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values,” the lender said in a statement.

“We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world.”

The World Bank Group plans to enhance third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms to ensure corrective action can be taken as needed. This move follows criticism from human rights organizations and pressure from various civic groups for the World Bank to take concrete actions, including suspending future lending, in response to the controversial legislation.

The anti-LGBTQ law in Uganda has faced significant condemnation both domestically and internationally. The law includes severe penalties such as capital punishment for what it terms “aggravated homosexuality” and lengthy prison sentences for “promoting” homosexuality. The US also imposed travel restrictions on Ugandan officials as a response to this legislation.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who signed the law, has defended it as necessary to prevent the LGBTQ community from attempting to recruit others. Despite the pause in financing, the World Bank Group stated its commitment to providing assistance to Uganda.

“The World Bank Group has a longstanding and productive relationship with Uganda; and we remain committed to helping all Ugandans – without exception – escape poverty, access vital services, and improve their lives,” the lender said.

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