A leading Canadian newspaper has revealed that Canada is quietly supporting the efforts of LGBT Ugandans in their fight against the country’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The National Post reports that efforts are being led by Canada’s department of Foreign Affairs.
A source within the agency said that it is quietly financing a concerted grassroots effort to keep Uganda’s proposed bill from passing and has spent $200,000 (£132.760) to kick-start several gay rights initiatives in the region.
The financing from Ottawa is going to help support LGBT rights organisations and has been divided between groups in Uganda and neighbouring Kenya.
Some of the funding is going towards establishing emergency procedures should LGBT Ugandans need help fleeing the country if and when the bill passes.
A hotline is also being set up for those at risk, and special emergency kits are to be distributed to those who fear for their safety.
Rick Roth, a spokesperson for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, told the National Post that “Canadian officials have conveyed Canada’s concerns with the bill to Uganda’s Foreign Ministry,” and confirmed that Canada is “working closely with Ugandan civil society.”
Last October, Mr Baird criticised the human rights record of Uganda and mentioned the 2011 murder of Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato.
Attending an international summit in Quebec, she reportedly said most of her colleagues who had sought visas to come to Canada for the conference were denied entry due to their stance on same-sex marriage.
Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill has sparked sweeping international condemnation, with some Ugandan lawmakers seeking to impose the death penalty for some homosexual acts.
It currently sits at number five on the list of bills to come before legislators.