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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in ETHIOPIA...
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A short documentary about gay Ugandan refugees in The Netherlands, who fled their home country due to anti gay laws in Uganda. I hereby send you the link of the video on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/98122540
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Rainbow Ethiopia LGBTI Human Rights, Outreach HIV/AIDS and Psycho-social Support Services (user currently living in ETHIOPIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 28/04/2013 tagged with intersex, hate crime and violence prevention, health, hiv/aids , gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, religion, illegality of female to female relationships, illegality of male to male relationships +9
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Ethiopian LGBTs need help to halt abuses

Posted on April 27, 2013 by Rainbow Ethiopia

Ethiopia has one of the world’s most restrictive laws governing attempts to protect the rights and health of women, children, LGBT people, the sick and the disabled.

As a result, those people’s rights and health are endangered, and too little is being done to change that.

A law called the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) 621/2009 bans any advocacy and human rights work seeking to end violence against women and children or to promote the rights of people with disabilities, people living with HIV, or other marginalized populations.

Further, grassroots organizations and front-line activists working for the rights and sexual health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Ethiopia are in danger both because of CSP 621/2009 and because of anti-homosexuality Proclamation No. 414/2004.2012, which provides for prison sentences of up to 15 years for consensual same-sex sexual activity.

As a result, little progress has been made in suppressing violence against LGBT individuals, which is inflicted both by police and by mobs. LGBT people tend to keep their sexual orientation a secret to avoid arrest and social stigma. LGBT activists fear for their safety, because a number of them have been detained, interrogated and tortured.

The U.S. and other countries don’t do enough to push for an end to such violations. Although they know that change is needed, they don’t make it a priority. Every year the U.S. State Department copies and pastes the same two paragraphs in its Ethiopian Human Rights Report under the heading “Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” This is the wording from the newly released 2012 report:

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by imprisonment under the law. There were some reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. Persons did not identify themselves as LGBT persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBT community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety. There were periodic detainments of some in the LGBT community, combined with interrogation and alleged physical abuse.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, the majority of whom were male, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.


Ethiopia’s location in East Africa

A first step toward would be for the U.S. embassy and U.S. human rights missions in the country to work closely with local LGBT activists and community leaders to flesh out the 2013 report. It’s important to record the specifics about the degrading and so-far-unreported human rights violations that Ethiopian people experience on the basis of their sexual identity and gender orientation.

A similar shortcoming applies to the U.K.’s 2012 Human Rights and Democracy Report, which mentions nothing about the human rights abuses targeted at LGBT people in Ethiopia.

Along the same lines, a conference of African Union health ministers is being held this week in Addis Ababa to discuss ways to combat the continent’s diseases. The pressing issue of LGBT people and HIV in Africa is not in their agenda.

It’s not because the foreign governments don’t know what’s going on. HIV activists and LGBT human right workers continually report incidents of social justice and human rights abuses to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The hope is that international organizations such as those will investigate and work with the Ethiopian government to address the issue.

For more information visit our website:

http://www.rainbow-ethiopia.org/
add response to story
Rainbow Ethiopia LGBTI Human Rights, Outreach HIV/AIDS and Psycho-social Support Services (user currently living in ETHIOPIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 28/04/2013 tagged with intersex, hate crime and violence prevention, health, hiv/aids , gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, religion, illegality of female to female relationships, illegality of male to male relationships +0
link
Ethiopian LGBTs need help to halt abuses

Posted on April 27, 2013 by Rainbow Ethiopia

Ethiopia has one of the world’s most restrictive laws governing attempts to protect the rights and health of women, children, LGBT people, the sick and the disabled.

As a result, those people’s rights and health are endangered, and too little is being done to change that.

A law called the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) 621/2009 bans any advocacy and human rights work seeking to end violence against women and children or to promote the rights of people with disabilities, people living with HIV, or other marginalized populations.

Further, grassroots organizations and front-line activists working for the rights and sexual health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Ethiopia are in danger both because of CSP 621/2009 and because of anti-homosexuality Proclamation No. 414/2004.2012, which provides for prison sentences of up to 15 years for consensual same-sex sexual activity.

As a result, little progress has been made in suppressing violence against LGBT individuals, which is inflicted both by police and by mobs. LGBT people tend to keep their sexual orientation a secret to avoid arrest and social stigma. LGBT activists fear for their safety, because a number of them have been detained, interrogated and tortured.

The U.S. and other countries don’t do enough to push for an end to such violations. Although they know that change is needed, they don’t make it a priority. Every year the U.S. State Department copies and pastes the same two paragraphs in its Ethiopian Human Rights Report under the heading “Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” This is the wording from the newly released 2012 report:

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by imprisonment under the law. There were some reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. Persons did not identify themselves as LGBT persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBT community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety. There were periodic detainments of some in the LGBT community, combined with interrogation and alleged physical abuse.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, the majority of whom were male, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.


Ethiopia’s location in East Africa

A first step toward would be for the U.S. embassy and U.S. human rights missions in the country to work closely with local LGBT activists and community leaders to flesh out the 2013 report. It’s important to record the specifics about the degrading and so-far-unreported human rights violations that Ethiopian people experience on the basis of their sexual identity and gender orientation.

A similar shortcoming applies to the U.K.’s 2012 Human Rights and Democracy Report, which mentions nothing about the human rights abuses targeted at LGBT people in Ethiopia.

Along the same lines, a conference of African Union health ministers is being held this week in Addis Ababa to discuss ways to combat the continent’s diseases. The pressing issue of LGBT people and HIV in Africa is not in their agenda.

It’s not because the foreign governments don’t know what’s going on. HIV activists and LGBT human right workers continually report incidents of social justice and human rights abuses to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The hope is that international organizations such as those will investigate and work with the Ethiopian government to address the issue.

For more information visit our website:

http://www.rainbow-ethiopia.org/
add response to story
Rainbow-Ethiopia Initiative for Men's Health (user currently living in ETHIOPIA) posted for gay readers on 26/03/2012 tagged with human rights +5
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WIKILEAKS | GAY COMMUNITY BOOMING IN ETHIOPIA
Posted by Daniel Berhane on Thursday, September 22, 2011

A leaked Cable of US Embassy Addis Ababa, dated Dec. 30,2009, claims that:
‘a thriving LGBT social scene exists in Addis Ababa. Parties are generally unannounced and held in private homes or bars, with invitations distributed via word of mouth or text messaging….events are held at least on a weekly basis, with attendance of more than 50 people not unusual. ’
LGBT is an abbreviation to ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (or transsexual)’.
According to the Cable, citing Embassy ‘contacts’, such Such events have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events.
The Cable notes that Ethiopia is a conservative society and Homosexual conduct is punishable under Ethiopia’s Crime law. However, it claims that:
* Post[the Embassy] is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct that have been prosecuted in recent years or any pending cases for homosexual acts between adults.
* In the past year, post received limited reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may have been scarce due to fears of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals.
* [social events of LGBTs] have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events.
* As in other countries, urban residents and young people are likely to be more tolerant of homosexual behavior when compared to their rural and elder counterparts, but even among this group conservative views dominate.
The US Embassy is of the opinion that ‘there is not an appreciable level of homosexual prostitution or sex tourism in Ethiopia.’
The Cable also mentions a December 2008 campaign by Ethiopian religious leaders and an NGO called "United for Life" . The Campaign mainly involved the signing of a resolution by a ‘dozens ‘of religious leaders condemning homosexuality and urging the parliament to ban homosexuality in the Constitution. However, the Constitution was not amended to that effect, nor does it seem likely.

UN Human Rights Committee
The call for ‘support of international humanitarians’, in the above quoted statement, didn’t fall on deaf ears, it seems. In deed, the issue is one of the major concerns of the United Nations Human Rights Committee with regard to Ethiopia.
The Committee, responsible to review the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, stated on its list of recommendations to Ethiopia last July, that:
The Committee is concerned about the criminalization of “homosexuality and other indecent acts”, as are other international human rights treaty bodies. As pointed out by the Committee, such criminalization violates the rights to privacy and to protection against discrimination set out in the Covenant. The Committee’s concerns are not allayed by the information furnished by the State party that the provision in question is not applied in practice or by its statement that it is important to change mindsets before modifying the law in this regard (arts. 2, 17 and 26).
The State party [Ethiopia] should take steps to decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex in order to bring its legislation into line with the Covenant. The State party should also take the necessary steps to put an end to the social stigmatization of homosexuality and send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or violence against persons based on their sexual orientation.
Prior to the issuance of the recommendation, the Committee had discussed the issue with a high level Ethiopian delegation led by Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. The Committee probed about the state of ‘same sex sexual activity’ in Ethiopia at least twice during in the discussion. The summarized minutes of the discussion posted by the Committee reads:
* [Committee members:] The criminalization of same sex sexual activity raised serious issues under several articles of the Covenant, including articles dealing with privacy and non-discrimination. Ethiopia had not registered reservations to these articles. How could the State invoke public morals, social norms and customs in a manner that led to stigmatization, violence and disparities in medical care?
The delegation said….In terms of sexual orientation and homosexuality, the delegation said that there was some difficulty in having discussions on this issue because it was a criminal act in Ethiopia and this currently was not being discussed in the country. The delegation did not know of anyone who had been prosecuted under this law and it had not been discussed publicly. What the State could do at this point was state the facts, which was that the law was unlikely to be changed at this point.
* [Committee members:] Concerning homosexuality, the fact that homosexuals were not pursued by the law did not mean they were not discriminated against. There was a feeling that homosexuals preferred to hide. Could Ethiopia do something to protect these individuals, an Expert asked?
The Ethiopian delegation said…..concerning sexual orientation, it was not in a position to respond further to the questions raised by the Committee. There was no possibility of changing the law on this subject at present. However, Ethiopia did not question in any way that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protected all persons.
You may read the full text of the Cable below
Related posts (in this blog):
Ethiopia: Text of UN Human Rights Committee Q & A session report
Ethiopia: Recommendations of UN Human Rights Committee [Full text]
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Reference ID – 09ADDISABABA3027
Created – 2009-12-30 05:09
Released – 2011-08-26 00:00
Classification – UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Origin – Embassy Addis Ababa
VZCZCXRO7656
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #3027/01 3640509
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300509Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7286
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3466
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1976
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003027
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR AF FRONT OFFICE
ALSO AF/RSA FOR LOUIS MAZEL, LAURA GRIESMER, LEARNED DEES
AF/E FOR JOEL WIEGERT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: HUMAN RIGHTS TRENDS REGARDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION
REF: STATE 130765
Summary
——–
¶1. (SBU) Ethiopia is a conservative society, as the vast majority of the population identifies itself as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian or Muslim. Leaders of both religious groups have denounced homosexuality. Homosexual conduct between adults is criminalized under Ethiopian law and punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Post is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct as such that have been prosecuted in recent years. In December 2008, a local organization named "United for Life" organized nearly a dozen religious leaders to sign a resolution urging lawmakers to ban homosexuality in the constitution. The Government of Ethiopia took no action as a result of this resolution. Post is aware of very few reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may be limited due to fears of retribution. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals. End Summary.
Criminal Codes and Prosecution
——————————-
¶2. (U) Homosexual conduct is criminalized under Articles 629-632 of the Ethiopian penal code. Homosexual conduct between adults is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Homosexual conduct between an adult male and a male aged 13-18 is punishable by imprisonment from three to 15 years; between an adult male and an a male under age 13 is punishable by imprisonment from 15 to 25 years; and between an adult female and a minor female (any age) is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Homosexual conduct involving a subordinate relationship (e.g., guardian, teacher, employer) and homosexual prostitution are punishable by one to ten years imprisonment. (Note: Post concludes there is not an appreciable level of homosexual prostitution or sex tourism in Ethiopia. End note.) Imprisonment for life may theoretically be imposed in cases where "sexual outrage has caused the death or grave physical or mental injury upon the victim, or where the victim is driven to suicide by distress, shame, or despair." Post is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct that have been prosecuted in recent years or any pending cases for homosexual acts between adults.
Public Attitudes
—————-
¶3. (SBU) Ethiopia is a conservative society, as the vast majority of the population identifies as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian or Muslim. Leaders of both religious groups have denounced homosexuality. In the past year, post received limited reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may have been scarce due to fears of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals.
¶4. (SBU) Despite these negative attitudes, a thriving LGBT social scene exists in Addis Ababa. Parties are generally unannounced and held in private homes or bars, with invitations distributed via word of mouth or text messaging. Post contacts report that events are held at least on a weekly basis, with attendance of more than 50 people not unusual. Such events have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events. As in other countries, urban residents and young people are likely to be more tolerant of homosexual behavior when compared to their rural and elder counterparts, but even among this group conservative views dominate.
Recent Advocacy Campaigns
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ADDIS ABAB 00003027 002 OF 002
¶5. (SBU) In December 2008, nearly a dozen religious leaders signed a resolution against homosexuality, urging lawmakers to endorse a ban on homosexual activity in the constitution. No action was taken by the government on this request. This effort was led by the organization "United for Life," which also campaigned against abortion rights.
MUSHINGI
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