EU African aid 'should depend on gay rights progress'

Bundibugyo in Uganda.The country has seen a series of attacks against gay rights activists
Bundibugyo in Uganda.The country has seen a series of attacks against gay rights activists

By Ian Dunt

EU aid to African countries must be reciprocated with progress on gay rights, one of London's Conservative MEP has said.

The demand follows the death of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato following a newspaper campaign which published his name and photograph next to the headline 'hang them'.

Charles Tannock, foreign affairs and human rights spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation, said he brought up the case at in the European parliament last week.


"This is the direct result of the hatred and hostility towards Uganda's LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual] community, whipped up by certain hard-line parliamentarians in that country," he told politics.co.uk.

"Twice in the past year we have lambasted the outrageous attempts by some MPs in Uganda to mandate the death penalty for the so-called crime of same-sex activity.

"I am sure that many of my London constituents are deeply concerned about the European Union giving financial aid to a country where such disgusting sentiments are not only tolerated but sometimes apparently officially condoned," Mr Tannock added.

"I hope that parliament's delegation for relations with the Pan-African parliament will consider carefully what action it can take to register our anger and disgust at Mr Kato's murder and, more generally, to underline that the EU's continuing engagement and financial aid to African countries must be reciprocated with progress on fundamental human rights on that continent."

Mr Kato, considered the father of Uganda's gay rights movement, had just won a lawsuit against the magazine that published his photograph when he was killed.

His funeral threatened to spill over into chaos when the preacher conducting it began to rail against gay rights, before being dragged from the pulpit by the congregation.

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