Human Rights First Highlights African Voices for LGBT Equality
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today praised African leaders who, amidst an increasing hostile environment, have publicly supported protecting the human rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people. As several African nations including Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia have recently enacted or are considering discriminatory legislation, Human Rights First issued a new factsheet titled, “African Voices for Equality,” highlighting brave men and women who are taking a stand in countries where egregious intolerance and violence against LGBT people and allies persists.
“We are inspired by these African men and women who are choosing to speak out in favor of equality at great risk to themselves,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “In a time when there are growing concerns about a steep rise in homophobic legislation and acts of violence, this living map will serve as a reminder that the rights of all people – regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity – are not primarily a western concern, but rather a human rights concern shared by many within Africa. We must work together with these leaders, human rights defenders, and activists to promote the global protection of LGBT rights as human rights.”
In recent months, several African nations have become part of an alarming trend that is also unfolding in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to enact discriminatory laws that infringe on the rights of LGBT people based on their identity. In January, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which was quickly followed by the signing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act by President Yoweri Museveni. This week, Ethiopian lawmakers are considering a bill that will make homosexuality an unpardonable offense.
Human Rights First continues to urge the United States to demonstrate leadership on global LGBT rights by taking diplomatic action to respond to anti-gay laws, working to stop passage of further discriminatory laws, and promoting the protection of LGBT rights as human rights worldwide.