This is a human rights challenge!!
Sweden prides itself on being a democracy that believes in equality and human rights. It is the Swedish brand, the Swedish identity and the Swedish discourse. Part of this self-image is embodied in the large amount of overseas aid Sweden provides to developing countries or nations in need. Rarely disputed, this money is taken as a natural redistribution of Swedish tax payers money in the name of solidarity and humanism.
In a true democracy, Swedish citizens, which I have become, should have a right to influence how this tax money-funded aid is divided and where it goes. In the light of this, I want to take a stand. A stand for humanism, for human rights and against one current Swedish aid policy.
I am talking about Uganda. Earlier this week, the Ugandan President signed a vile law outlawing homosexuality. The draconian law increases penalties for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment for ‘aggravated homosexuality’. One Ugandan politician justifed the law by saying that in fact they are being tolerant (as requested by the Pope) because ‘at least we are not massacring them’.
It might be convenient for us to look at Uganda and think that their laws don’t affect us. But it’s when the rights of minorities or the disenfranchised are at risk that we must stand up. Nobody is protected until we are all protected equally under the law. And one way for a nation to speak up is via aid programs.
Sweden provides 250 million Swedish kronor to Uganda in aid. Of that amount, approximately 85 million goes directly to the government – the same government that just signed the anti-gay law. Denmark and Norway have redirected its aid in protest of this new law but the Swedish government refuses to do so. They want to observe the situation first and see what happens. This weird neutrality, for me, contradicts directly with the Swedish brand of human rights and equality. I wonder if the Ugandan law had been targeted at Jews, white people or at a specific tribal group, if the Swedish government had reacted differently?
As a tax payer in Sweden, I do not support aid being provided to Uganda. I demand that the Swedish government redirects the aid currently donated to the Uganda government.
I encourage everyone write to Aid Minister Hillevi Engström – firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 08-405 10 00 and demand an immediate redirection of aid from Uganda.
Also mail The Foreign office on email@example.com
Or why not the Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on firstname.lastname@example.org
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