News from Africa

Attacks against LGBTIs in Africa: an evidence of the backlash against human rights

Té / 31 March 2014

An FIDH delegation met with the French President, François Hollande, who invited the group on 27 March 2014 to discuss repression of LGBTI persons throughout the world, and especially in Africa.

PARIS, France, March 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)

In some countries, homophobic stigma has reached a peak with politicians rushing to outdo each other. Reasons connected to the elections and popularism have generated a multiplication of laws punishing homosexuality and encouraging denunciation of LGBTI persons and their defenders.

“The French authorities should close ranks with the defenders of LGBTI rights. Repression does not occur per happenstance. It is part of a broad context marked by increased violations of human rights and restrictions on various freedoms in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan and Russia” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

French President, François Hollande, meeting with Alice Mogwe from Botswana (FIDH Deputy Secretary General)

The French President stressed the need to “consider attacks against the rights of LGBTI persons as a global problem of attacks on human rights.”

FIDH called for French support and solidarity with the African peoples and their legitimate hopes to strengthen their independence, their collective safety and their role in international bodies, but without forgetting that a greater role in international relations carries responsibility and requires exemplary conduct, and that it must be based on shared universal values, including respect for human rights, non-discrimination and equality for all.

François Hollande said that he was ready “to build South-North alliances” but gave a word of caution on “the conditionality of aid which might add further punishment for people who are already the victims of violence and discrimination”. He highlighted the “use of all the international fora, the diplomatic and cultural networks and the economic leaders to advance the comprehension, tolerance and respect of the rights of each person”. He felt it was especially important to “support the efforts of NGOs and the civil society to protect and promote rights and tolerance.”

“Because of their history, and the discrimination they still now suffer, Africans, more than anyone else, should be aware of the effects of intolerance. They have the moral and historical duty not to penalise the difference,” said Sheila Muwanga, FIDH Vice President at the end of the meeting.

“It is up to Africa, more than anyone else, to fight for equal rights across the African continent,” added Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice President.

This meeting coincided with the quarterly meeting in Paris of the FIDH International Board, which was represented at this meeting by Mr Karim Lahidji (FIDH President), Mrs Sheila Muwanga from Uganda (Vice President), Mr Dismas Kitenge from the DRC (Vice President), and Mrs Alice Mogwe from Botswana (Deputy Secretary General). Mr Antoine Bernard, FIDH CEO, accompanied the delegation.

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