UN wants Liberia to soften stand on homosexualityBy TERENCE SESAY in Monrovia | Monday, August 20 2012 at 17:55
The UN Human Rights Office has described as “dangerous for both homosexuals and heterosexuals” Liberia’s new anti-homosexuality Bill currently being considered for passage by the country’s parliament.
The new legislation makes homosexual acts, including sodomy and lesbianism, a second degree felony punishable by a fine and up to five years in jail.
Under the current law, such acts, including voluntary sodomy, are considered ‘misdemeanours’ and carry a one-year jail sentence.
The amendments also impose penalties on anyone who “seduces, encourages or promotes another person of the same gender to engage in deviant sexual activities.”
A spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani was quoted saying legislation criminalising homosexuality “can have a serious negative impact not only on gay and lesbian people, but also on the most vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV, sex workers, refugees and internally displaced populations who might be in need of special attention but will not come forward due to the high risk of stigmatisation, discrimination and possible violence.”
Despite threats by Western nations, especially Britain and the United States, to withhold donor support to any country criminalising homosexuality and lesbianism, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has defended her country’s laws regarding gay acts.
“We like ourselves just the way we are …we’ve got certain traditional values in our society that we would like to preserve,” President Sirleaf, a Nobel Laureate, once told Britain’s Guardian newspaper during a heated interview on gay rights.
The ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, Jewel Howard Taylor, now a senator, drafted a Bill that would make same-sex marriage a crime punishable by up to ten years in jail.
“Homosexuality is a criminal offense. It is un-African. It is a problem in our society. We consider deviant sexual behavior criminal behavior,” Ms Taylor had told the Guardian in a separate interview.
- London terror suspect had been detained in Kenya
- Somalia lists 1,345 foreigners in Mogadishu
- Why Obama is visiting Tanzania
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Sierra Leone gay activist narrowly escapes death
- After Berlin Man, two reported cured of HIV in Kenya
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Tough life for Eritreans two decades after independence
- ICC to 'explore other options' if Kenya fails to cooperate
Beyond the ballot