Former Mozambique President Urges African Leaders to End LGBT Persecution, Discrimination

Foremer Mozambique President J.E. Joaquim Chissano is urging African leaders to end discrimination against LGBT people in an open letter in advance of the finalization of a document being prepared by Liberian Presiden Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on a united set of developmental goals for the African continent.

ChissanoWrites Chissano, who co-chairs the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development), in part:

Sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular, are a prerequisite for empowering women and the generations of young people on whom our future depends.

This simply means granting every one the freedom – and the means — to make informed decisions about very basic aspects of one's life – one's sexuality, health, and if, when and with whom to have relationships, marry or have children – without any form of discrimination, coercion or violence.

This also implies convenient, affordable access to quality information and services and to comprehensive sexuality education.

We can no longer afford to discriminate against people on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, migrant status, sexual orientation and gender identity, or any other basis – we need to unleash the full potential of everyone.

As an African who has been around a long time, I understand the resistance to these ideas.

But I can also step back and see that the larger course of human history, especially of the past century or so, is one of expanding human rights and freedoms.


  1. Paul R says

    Jebus did he think to have someone else read that before it was released? Obviously I concur with the sentiment, but it’s sort of a mess.

    Also, not many people are listening to Sirleaf at this point. She kind of wrecked herself.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    @ PAUL R,

    I know that your comment was sincere and meant with no malice–an honest critique, but I can’t figure out how his statement was “a mess” or even written badly.

    I’ve read the full statement twice and Andy’s exerpt three times. How is it a mess?

  3. Vera says

    A little info from an African…
    Mozambique is one of the most liberal countries in Africa with regards to gay rights. Homosexuality has long since been decriminalized (though arguably never was) and there are discrimination protections. Adoption is semi-legal in non-official cases and gay marriage might be on the horizon.

    Also in regards to the language thing, they speak Portuguese in Mozambique, it was probably translated.

  4. mike128 says

    People here are really quick to jump on the homophobic African leaders… and apparently also really quick to jump on African leaders who want to be our allies!

    I’m thankful to hear the more progressive African voices here. Can we hear more? And can we hear from them how we, in the US, can help?

  5. Randy says

    Thank you Pres. Chissano.

    What does current Pres. Guebuza think?

    Mozambique is member of three international groups which I hope LGBT groups are working with:

    Community of Portuguese Language Countries,
    Latin Union, and
    Southern African Development Community.

    With what we’ve seen in South America, the southern hemisphere could become a global leader in LGBT freedom and equality, if it wants it.

  6. The Younger says

    Guebuza is more occupated with others problems like fight against the Poor and stuff like that. The 1st ladie is the one with the active role in that kind of stuff, although she never talked about LGBT’s rights. They first must chance that mind of the societ, and quickly because the religion is here is strong, but with some weakness-the mixed islam/christian culture/religion with our beliefs.

  7. unokhan says

    sometimes, when no one will say what is quite evident, it takes a marxist to step up and say how things are and to explain matter-of-factly what the broader implications are for everyone. bless him.

  8. gregorybrown says

    It’s encouraging to hear an African leader say something enlightened and encouraging, putting LGB concerns into a larger human rights context. The horrific laws and practices we hear about come from cynical politicians using homosexuality as a cover for manipulating populations corrupted by religious zealotry–both Islamists and “Christians” polluted by antirational Pentecostalism.

  9. andrew says

    Mr. Chissano is the kind of leader nations in Africa so desperately need, if they are to move into the 21st century.