The British government says it will cut aid to African countries that persecute LGBT people.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell revealed the UK has already cut funding to Malawi by £19 million after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years in prison last May reports the Daily Mail.
Though Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were eventually pardoned by Malawi’s President, Bingu wa Mutharika, their freedom came with a stern warning.
“These boys committed a crime against our culture, against our religion, and against our laws,” Mutharika said. “We don’t condone marriages of this nature. It’s unheard of in Malawi and it’s illegal.”
The Daily Mail notes the UK has donated over £200 million to Malawi during the past three years but that the government will continue withholding funds from the country if it does not stop threatening and punishing its LGBT citizens.
Other countries on the UK’s watch list include Ghana, where earlier this year Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo called for the arrest of all gay people and Uganda, which has considered a “Kill The Gays” bill and saw its first gay bar shuttered last week.
A spokesman for Mitchell told the Daily Mail:
“The Government is committed to combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all circumstances, in this country and abroad. We take action where we have concerns.
We now allocate funds every three months, rather than every year, so that we can review a country’s performance, for example on human rights, and take swift action when governments fall short. We only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty and respect human rights.”