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Joint Statement: World Bank Letter from Global Civil Society Groups






Outright Team
Published Date

Outright joins 170 organizations worldwide calling for the World Bank to take strong action in response to the Anti-Homosexuality Law recently adopted in Uganda. Roughly half of the signatories are headquartered in countries whose governments borrow money from the World Bank, and most other signatories operate in those countries.

As the letter states, strong action “is critical now to send a strong message to other countries currently considering similarly discriminatory legislation that the World Bank will live up to its own values and rhetoric and comply with its own policies regarding the importance of inclusivity as a driver of economic development.”

The Letter

Dear President Banga,

As activists committed to inclusive economic development from around the world, we write to you to urge your proactive leadership to ensure that the World Bank takes specific, concrete and timely actions in response to Uganda’s abhorrent Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The sweeping provisions of this new law paralyze any hope for shared prosperity for all Ugandans and will cause grave harm to the World Bank’s operations in the country. As the world’s most important institution addressing poverty and ending economic inequality, it is a critical time for the World Bank to live up to its own stated commitments.

We write to underscore the position of Uganda’s Convening for Equality (CFE) which has urged the World Bank to take action, including by stopping payment on current loans to Uganda and suspending future lending in Uganda until the law is struck down by the Constitutional Court. We also urge that such World Bank action be made public.

Such decisive action is necessary given Board-mandated policies that govern the World Bank. For example, the Environmental and Social Framework requires that countries ensure that “adverse impacts do not fall disproportionately on the disadvantaged or vulnerable, and they are not disadvantaged in sharing any development benefits and opportunities resulting from the project.” The World Bank Directive on Addressing Risks and Impacts on Disadvantaged or Vulnerable Individuals or Groups and the Good Practice Note on Non Discrimination: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) require that the Bank assess, mitigate and avoid exclusion and discriminatory impact based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Furthermore, such actions are necessary in order to send a strong message to several other countries currently considering similar discriminatory legislation that the World Bank will live up to its own values and rhetoric and will comply with its own policies regarding the importance of inclusivity as a driver of economic development.

We appreciate the World Bank’s statement issued on May 31 in which it said that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is “not consistent with the values of non-discrimination and inclusion that the institution upholds.” But we remain concerned about the absence of follow-up actions by the World Bank after this condemnatory statement. Thus far in response to Uganda’s 2023 law, the World Bank has NOT stated what range of possible actions it may take in the face of such a deeply discriminatory law that plainly violates its policies or clearly stated that a review will be conducted to determine a course of action in response to the new law. This must be remedied immediately.

This new law in Uganda will profoundly negatively impact many aspects of the lives of Ugandans as well as World Bank operations. Provisions which require mandated reporting to police of anyone suspected of having committed “the offense of homosexuality” (or any offense in the Act) and criminalize “promotion of homosexuality” violate basic rights to privacy, free expression, freedom of association as well as access to essential social services. World Bank staff and anyone working on World Bank-funded projects could be caught by these provisions of the law, among others. The law drives marginalized people away from needed services and actively mandates state sponsored discrimination and violence against real or perceived LGBTIQ people in all areas of livelihood – from employment, to housing, to health care and education.

In response to a similar law in Uganda in 2014, the World Bank announced a delay of a USD 90 million loan to Uganda’s healthcare sector explicitly because of concerns for discrimination in the wake of that law. Then World Bank President Jim Kim also wrote an op-ed in which he stated that discrimination is bad for economies, as well as for societies and individuals. In 2018, in Tanzania the World Bank suspended all missions to the country, explicitly due to discrimination against LGBTI people.

We request a commitment to stop current and future lending to Uganda as long as the law remains in force. We look forward to your determined leadership in this important time.

    • Unify Movements, Global
    • Accountability International, South Africa and Sweden
    • Accountability Lab Nepal
    • Action Against AIDS Germany
    • Adhara/Sevilla Checkpoint, Spain
    • Africa Center for International Law and Accountability, Ghana
    • Africa Japan Forum
    • Africa Queer Network, Uganda
    • Africa Rainbow Family, UK
    • African Services Committee, USA and Ethiopia
    • AIDS-Fondet (the Danish AIDS Foundation)
    • All Out, Global
    • Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, Canada
    • AMATE, El Salvador
    • Association For Promotion of Sustainable Development, Global
    • Arms to Lean On (ATLO), Kenya
    • AVAC, Global
    • Bank Information Center (BIC), Global
    • Campaign against Homophobia, Germany
    • Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab, India
    • Center for Popular Democracy, USA
    • Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights (CEPERHG), Ghana
    • CHISA, Malawi
    • Consolation East Africa, Kenya
    • Council for Global Equality, USA
    • Creme De La Creme House of Fame Foundation, Nigeria
    • Deutsche Aidshilfe, Germany
    • Developing Families Together, Ethiopia
    • Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), India
    • Dignity Canada Dignité, Canada
    • East African Network of AIDS Service Organisations (EANNASO), Tanzania
    • East Africa Trans Health & Advocacy Network (EATHAN), East Africa
    • Equality Access to Health and Rights Initiative, Nigeria
    • Equally Unique Initiative, Kenya
    • F&M Global Barometers, USA
    • ForumCiv, Sweden
    • Foundation Earth, USA
    • Freeblock13 Kakuma, Kenya
    • Freedom and Roam Uganda
    • FRI, Norway
    • Friends of the Global Fight, USA
    • Fundación Iguales, Chile
    • galck+, Kenya
    • Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE), Global
    • Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE), USA
    • Global Interfaith Network  For People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions, South Africa
    • GBGMC, The Netherlands
    • Global Black Gay Men Connect, Global
    • Global Fund Advocates Network, Global
    • Global Fund for Community Foundations, Global
    • Global Justice Now, UK
    • Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), Global
    • God Adores You, Zimbabwe
    • Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS, South Africa
    • Hands of Hope, Zimbabwe
    • Health GAP, Global
    • HIV Justice Network, Global
    • HIV Legal Network/ Réseau juridique VIH, Canada
    • HIV/AIDS People Alliance of Kenya
    • Hope Alive Health Awareness Initiative (HAHAI), Nigeria
    • House of Our Pride, Eswatini
    • House of Rainbow, Global
    • Housing Works, Inc., USA
    • Human Rights Campaign, USA
    • ICASO, Global
    • Immigration Equality, USA
    • Indonongo, The Netherlands
    • Initiative for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Awareness (ISRHRA), Nigeria
    • Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of Bangladesh (IACIB)
    • International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, USA
    • International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) Kenya
    • International Council of AIDS Service Organisations (ICASO), Global
    • International IDAHO committee, Global
    • Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, Ghana
    • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) World, Global
    • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe
    • Intersex Canada
    • Intersex Community of Zimbabwe
    • Journalists for Human Rights, Global
    • Justice is Global, USA
    • Kaleidoscope Trust, UK
    • KP Consortium, Kenya
    • Latu Human Rights Foundation, Zambia
    • Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD)
    • Let’s Walk Uganda
    • LGBT+ Denmark
    • LGBT+ Family Coalition, Canada
    • Manodiversa Bolivia
    • Micro Rainbow, UK
    • Minority Defenders Forum, Organization, Uganda and Kenya
    • Minority Womyn in Action, Kenya
    • Miss Star International, Global
    • Mosaic MENA, Lebanon
    • Most at Risk Young Mothers and Teenage Girls living with HIV Initiative (MOYOTE), Kenya
    • MPact Global Action, Global
    • MusicWorks, South Africa
    • Namibia Diverse Women's Association (NDWA)
    • National Harm Reduction Coalition, USA
    • Nebula Fund, Global
    • Negem Lela Ken New HIV Positive women Support Organization (NLK), Ethiopia
    • Office against Discrimination and Racism, and for Intersectionality (ODRI), Global
    • OutRight International, Global
    • Ozanne Foundation, Global
    • Page blanche pour ton histoire, Gabon
    • Pan Africa ILGA, South Africa
    • Picture Youth Group Organization, Kenya
    • Planned Parenthood Global
    • Positive Vibes Trust, Namibia
    • PREKURSOR Foundation for Social Policy, Poland
    • PrEP4All, USA
    • Prevention Access Campaign, Global
    • Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada
    • Public Citizen, USA
    • Queer Collective, Kenya
    • Rainbow of Africa Foundation, Ghana
    • Rainbow Railroad, Global
    • Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, DRC
    • Reaching Out Winnipeg, Canada
    • Recourse, The Netherlands
    • Red Trans de Bolivia
    • Release, UK
    • ReportOUT, Global
    • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, USA + Global
    • Sangram, India
    • Schwulenberatung Berlin, Germany
    • Sex og Politikk (International Planned Parenthood Federation), Norway
    • Sophiatown Community Psychological Services, South Africa
    • Space for Marginalised Groups in Diversity in Zimbabwe Trust
    • Stephen Lewis Foundation, South Africa
    • Stepping Stones International, Botswana
    • Stonewall, UK
    • Swaziland Positive Living, Eswatini
    • The Enchanté Network, Canada
    • The People's Matrix, Lesotho
    • Trans Noah Alliance, Uganda
    • Transgender Law Center, USA
    • Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa
    • TUSC Concepts, Kenya
    • UK Community Advisory Board
    • Umtha Welanga, South Africa
    • Unibambusiness, Belize
    • Utopia_BXL, Belgium
    • WACI Health, South Africa
    • Watu Center for Health and Advocacy (WACHA), Kenya
    • Wem Integrated Health Services, Kenya
    • Western Kenya Pride
    • Wiceceka Community Support Organization, Rwanda
    • Wide Horizon Hospice, South Africa
    • Women Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment and Equality (WISE), Nigeria
    • Women Of Faith In Action, Uganda
    • Womens International League for Peace and Freedom Canada
    • Workplace Pride Foundation, Global
    • Youth and Women for Change in Eswatini
    • Zambia Key Populations Consortium



    • Anna Bjerde, Managing Director
    • Victoria Kwakwa, Regional Vice President
    • Maninder S. Gill, Director
    • Juan Pablo Uribe, MD, Director
    • Keith E. Hansen, Country Director
    • R. Mukami Kariuki, Country Manager

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