LONDON (TrustLaw) - Britain is to cut aid to countries which persecute homosexuals and is keeping a particularly close eye on Malawi, Uganda and Ghana.
It has already suspended 19 million pounds ($30 million) to Malawi over a host of governance concerns, including the country’s treatment of homosexuals.
Malawi sentenced two gay men to 14 years with hard labour last year in a case that sparked international condemnation. The couple, who were arrested after holding an engagement ceremony, were subsequently pardoned and released. Homosexual relationships between men remain illegal there.
Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) confirmed that Development Minister Stephen O’Brien has also challenged Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika on his moves to criminalise lesbian relationships.
And Britain has raised its concern over a proposed bill in Uganda calling for the death penalty for gays considered “repeat offenders”. The private members bill, which caused a global outcry, has been shelved but could still be reintroduced.
Britain is also watching Ghana where Western Regional Minister Paul Evans Aidoo has called for the arrest of all homosexuals in the region.
The warning to African countries over their treatment of homosexuals is part of an overhaul introduced this year in how the British government grants general budget support to countries.
“We now allocate funds every three months – rather than every year – so we can review a country’s performance, for example on human rights, and take swift action when governments fall short,” a DFID spokesman said.
“… we only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty, respect human rights and other international obligations, improve public financial management, promote good governance and transparency, and fight corruption.”
DFID said the government was committed to combating violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians and that it would take action where it had concerns.
(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)