POZlife

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U.S. Should Halt AIDS Funds for Homophobic Uganda: Human Rights Watch

Posted by pozlife on November 1, 2007

October 17, 2007

New York-based Human Rights Watch has asked the United States to reconsider funding HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda, where it claims recipients of such money violate the rights of homosexuals.

In a letter to U.S. officials on Oct. 11, HRW said Ugandan officials and media have intensified attacks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. It cited an anti-condom, anti-gay pastor, whose church has received U.S. funds for anti-AIDS abstinence and fidelity programs, saying he listed names and pictures of gay rights activists on a Web site.

In addition, a local tabloid last month published the first names, workplaces, and other details of 39 alleged gay men under the headline "Homo Terror," pledging to "name and shame top gays in the city."

"The U.S. government should condemn these threats and clarify that it does not support using its HIV/AIDS funding to promote homophobia," the letter said.

"When the U.S. funds abstinence-only programs in Uganda, it tells people that LGBT people’s sexualities are dangerous and must be denied," said HRW’s Scott Long. "U.S. politicians and pocketbooks underwrite hatred in Uganda," he said. "The U.S. has no business lending an aura of respectability to policies that undermine human rights and public health."

"Supporting prejudice with cash is an approach with deadly consequences for all," said Long. In the past, HRW has called on the Ugandan government to decriminalize homosexuality and asked officials to stop making homophobic statements.

In August, Ugandan authorities backed a march by some 100 Christian and Muslim clerics in Kampala to condemn homosexuals. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, punishable by imprisonment up to life.

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