Liberia Hub




State Department Expresses Concern Over Liberian President's Defense of Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

Sirleaf

Yesterday I posted video of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf telling The Guardian she won't sign any law decriminalizing homosexuality.

Said Sirleaf:

"We like ourselves just the way we are...We've got certain traditional values in our society we'd like to preserve."

Today, the State Department expressed concern and said it would be looking into Liberia's treatment of LGBT people, the AP reports:

Administration officials have lauded Sirleaf as Africa's first female leader, and Liberia has received hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid since emerging from civil war last decade. But her comments are providing an early test of President Barack Obama's recent directive for officials to use foreign assistance and diplomacy to promote gay rights globally, even if the administration says it is not making foreign aid contingent on a nation's record.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. stood by its policy of aggressively promoting gay rights. But asked about Sirleaf's statements, just two months after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Liberia to attend Sirleaf's second inauguration, Nuland said the U.S. would be inquiring with Liberian officials to "find out whether the reporting is accurate and express some surprise and concern."

Added Nuland:

"I think if there were major pieces of legislation that discriminated against any group, we would have to take that into account in our relationship, and it would be a cause for concern."

Watch the video HERE if you missed it.


Tony Blair Won't Comment as Liberian President Says She Prefers a Society That Throws Gays in Jail: VIDEO

Blair_liberia

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tells The Guardian she won't sign any law decriminalizing homosexuality.

"We like ourselves just the way we are...We've got certain traditional values in our society we'd like to preserve."

The interviewer then turns to former British PM Tony Blair, and asks him about how he feels about Prime Minister David Cameron's recent statements to African leaders instructing them to respect the human rights of LGBT people.

Blair smiles nervously, but refuses to comment.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

PonponMeanwhile, in Liberia, Archie Ponpon (pictured) and Abraham Kamara, two activists with Movement for the Defence of Gays and Lesbians in Liberia (Modegal), have been confronted by angry mobs in recent weeks, causing them to seek safety at the police station.

When the two activists tried to get their organisation officially registered by the government, Mr Ponpon says their "article of incorporation was denied".

"We wrote to the president complaining, but she has not responded," he says.

The home of Ponpon's mother was burned down: "He suspects it was an arson attack by people who do not support his stance. 'Since this incident, my mother has been in hiding,' he says."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tony Blair Won't Comment as Liberian President Says She Prefers a Society That Throws Gays in Jail: VIDEO" »


Liberian First Lady Jewel Taylor Submits Bill to Make Homosexuality a Felony with 10-Year Prison Term

Liberia's Senate is set to consider a hideous anti-homosexuality bill today, the AP reports:

TaylorLiberia’s former first lady, Senator Jewel Taylor, submitted a bill last week that would prohibit same-sex marriage and make homosexuality a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“We are only strengthening the existing law,” she said. “Some media are reporting that I said anyone found guilty of involvement in same sex should face the death penalty, I did not say so, I am calling for a law that will make it a first degree felony,” she told the Associated Press.

The current law considers gay relationships a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to a year in prison.

Meanwhile in Cameroon, the AP adds, 10 women have been arrested under suspicion that they are lesbians:

Consensual same-gender sex is considered criminal in Cameroon and punishable by a jail sentence from six months to five years and a fine. Gay rights defender and founder of the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals, Alice Nkom, says detainees in Cameroon are frequently tortured in police stations to force them confess.


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