In a significant stance against discrimination and human rights violations, the World Bank has announced the suspension of new financing to Uganda. This decision comes as a response to Uganda’s adoption of a law that criminalizes same-sex relationships and imposes severe penalties, including life imprisonment and death, on LGBTQ individuals.
The anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) law, passed earlier this year by the Ugandan government, has drawn widespread condemnation for its harsh and discriminatory provisions. The World Bank, a prominent international financial institution, has expressed deep concerns about the law’s contradiction with its core values, particularly its commitment to inclusivity and non-discrimination.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the World Bank stated, “Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values. We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality.”
The institution emphasized that its mission to combat poverty and foster sustainable development is contingent upon ensuring equal opportunities and protection for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the wake of the enactment of the law, the World Bank promptly dispatched a team to Uganda to assess the implications of the legislation on its ongoing projects in the country. The review concluded that additional measures are imperative to align projects with the World Bank’s environmental and social standards while safeguarding sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion.
As part of this effort, discussions are currently underway with Ugandan authorities to establish third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms that will enhance accountability and enable corrective actions when necessary.
The World Bank affirmed its ongoing commitment to helping the people of Uganda escape poverty, access essential services, and improve their lives. Despite the suspension of new financing, the institution maintains that its enduring partnership with Uganda persists.