AFRICANGLOBE – The United States has asked African states to repeal so-called “anti-homosexual” laws terming them ‘discriminatory’ and a violation of human rights.
“Our laws have been developed so that we can protect the human rights of the LGBT community here. We also want to encourage that in our foreign policy and our approach to governments in Africa,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield yesterday in an online press conference from Washington.
“We strongly support human rights for all people, and we particularly are opposed to legislation that actually targets the gay community,”.
“We are of the view that criminalization against anybody on the basis of their sexual orientation and affiliation is wrong and contradicts human rights law,” she said.
President Barrack Obama has instructed officials in his government to “ensure that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, and transgender persons” around the world.
However many African countries have expressed vocal opposition to homosexuality. In Kenya, religious leaders have condemned the practice of homosexuality. The Kenyan constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan last month signed into law a bill which bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and public shows of same-sex affection.
In Uganda, MPs have passed bill allowing for greater restrictions on on the practice of homosexuality, but President Yoweri Museveni is yet to sign it into law.
The newly passed constitution of Zimbabwe makes same-sex marriages a “crime”. President Mugabe has branded gays and lesbians as “worse than pigs and dogs.”
Homosexuality remains illegal in 38 of Africa’s 54 countries, often on the basis of inherited colonial legislation and cultural norms.
On South Sudan, Greenfield has called for the withdrawal of foreign troops saying “continued presence of foreign forces will in our view jeopardize peace efforts.”
President Museveni has deployed the Ugandan army inside South Sudan to shore up the forces of President Salva Kiir and restricted the spread of the conflict.
By: Adow Mohamed