The price of prejudice. / Uganda currency plunges as anti-gay law prompts U.S. aid cuts. ht.ly/ylmW3—
Gabriel Arana (@gabrielarana) June 23, 2014
The latest move by the administration:
The United States on Thursday cut aid to Uganda, imposed visa restrictions and canceled a regional military exercise in response to a Ugandan law that imposes harsh penalties on homosexuality.
Kim Yi Dionne weighs the risks:
Some analysts raise concerns that punitive measures by Western governments will generate a backlash that will “have the unintended effect of emboldening homophobic rhetoric that links aid and LGBT rights to neocolonial intervention,” and could further endanger the lives of sexual minorities. The anti-homosexuality act in Uganda has already yielded an increase in human rights violations.
But the answer might be different if we draw from University of Florida political scientist Conor O’Dwyer‘s study of gay rights in Poland. Prior to Poland’s accession to the European Union, the European Parliament warned it would block accession of any country that violated the rights of sexual minorities. Initially, the EU restrictions generated a political backlash against sexual minorities in Poland. But the political backlash against same-sex rights in Poland can be partially credited with mobilizing same-sex rights activists.
Tim Fernholz puts the plummeting of Uganda’s currency in context:
Since passing laws mandating the life in prison for “homosexual acts” in February, Uganda has seen its currency weaken considerably, with US dollars now costing nearly 6% more since the day the law was signed. (In the same period, the euro has weakened against the dollar by less than 1%.)
It’s not that markets are moral. The latest sell-off comes after the United States announced Friday that it would cancel aid programs and military exercises with Uganda; other Western countries are doing the same, including Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Threats to enact responses like these helped kill an earlier version of Uganda’s anti-gay bill that included the death penalty for some violations, but the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, went ahead with the new version anyhow.
Foreign aid makes up about 4% of Uganda’s gross national income, and is equal to more than a third of government revenues. If its volume continues to decrease significantly, that’s going to be noticeable—already, local traders are predicting dollar shortages.
Previous Dish on the issue here.