John Kerry Visit and the misuse of PEPFAR funding for Hatred against LGBTI Community in Ethiopia

Press release

United States Secretary Of State John Kerry will be in Ethiopia from 24-25th of MAY for the 21st African Union Summit, and 50th Anniversary of AU and it has been reported recently that USAID money is benefiting local organizations like Bright for Children Voluntary Association and Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Development, Dialogue and Action (EIFDDA) at large. The Interfaith Consortium get its grant from many bilateral and multilateral international organizations including PEPFAR: http://ethiopia.usaid.gov/category/partners/ethiopian-interfaith-forum-development) which are responsible for spreading falsehoods about and fomenting hatred against LGBT people in Ethiopia.

Image

This Interfaith Consortium in partnership with United for Life Ethiopia, the local Pro-life, western Conservative Evangelicals ally organized two national anti-homosexuality conferences and pass a joint statement to plea the government to further restrict the practice of homosexuality in December, 2008 at UN Convention Centre and June, 2012 at the newly built African Union headquarter in Addis Ababa.

Unfortunately, the politicized Interfaith Consortium is doing nothing and remain silent in several pressing issues of the country; when the government was repeatedly and openly criticized by international human rights and press organizations as well as by some government officials from the European Community and United States for its abuse of freedom of the press and civic association and human rights since the introduction of  the restrictive charities and societies, press and anti-terrorism laws.

At the same time, this interfaith consortium is also highly engaged in demonizing homosexuals and propagating anti-homosexuality myths and “kill the homosexuals” campaigns by organizing national conferences and local anti-homosexuality workshops and trainings on the issues of “the western imported culture of homosexuality and its ‘disastrous’ effects in Ethiopia” across churches, mosques, schools and even healthcare facilities all over the country which is making the society especially the new generation more hostile and very cautious among each other to the so called signs of homosexuality among their peers, this is creating severe stigma and fear among  the LGBTI community in Ethiopia. There is also a growing trend of verbal/physical abuse and life threatening violence by friends, family members, teachers, mobs and in worst case by the law enforcement officers from time to time.

Image

 Vicious Mob Violence Cases targeted to LGBTI Peoples across the Country

Helen and Ruta are a young lesbian couples who are studying at a private College in Addis Ababa, they have been together for the last two years, and Helen said that “I like girls since I was kid. I always tell myself God made me like this for a reason, I’m very cautious not be identified by my families and straight friends as a lesbian fearing the stigma and violence….and am really worried about the pressure coming from my parents to marry a wealthy older man and I’m afraid this may lead to forced marriage soon, which is the fate of many Ethiopian lesbians. My other grave concern is the growing hunting down and beating of gays and lesbians because of the false and disgusting newspaper/magazine propaganda by some protestant pastors and Orthodox priests, even last week other lesbian couple whom I know have been beaten by straight women at a nightclub in Addis Ababa” http://bikyanews.com/88660/ethiopia-lesbian-couple-tell-of-attack-as-fear-of-anti-gay-action-rises/

Alex is a 23 years old HIV positive gay man who works as a barista in one coffee shop in Awassa, the Southern part of Ethiopia…who was viciously beaten by a group of people at a local bar two weeks ago while he was socializing with his friend; one of them followed and called him “Bushti” which is the derogatory name equivalent to faggot and call the others to join the attacking.  He believes that people became suspicious he is homosexual only because of the way he was walking or talking.

He said that… “It is a shame our society can’t accept people for the way they are. We can’t help who we love or who makes us happy. We can’t even get good HIV counselling, testing and other supports in hospitals. Hate doesn’t solve anything it makes the matter worse. We need to accept and love each other…”

Mohammed is a 28 years old transgender man who runs his own small business in the town of Jimma, southwestern part of Ethiopia. He has been blackmailed, robbed and attacked several times because he sometimes like to wear women’s clothes and cosmetics.

“We commend some of the works of the interfaith consortium in the areas of HIV Prevention, Orphan and Vulnerable Children and women empowerment but we strongly object the recent growing anti-homosexuality hate campaign and respectfully request the government, the consortium, PEPFAR and others development partners to carefully research and avoid the confusion of homosexuality with pedophilia, discuss and consider the growing hostility and dangerous consequences of the campaigns on the already marginalized and vulnerable LGBTI peoples and groups in the country.” Mercy, Sexual health and social support activist in Ethiopia.

Image

Rainbow-Ethiopia strongly encourages Secretary Kerry to use his platform to condemn the actions of these American and Ethiopian organizations which are working in concert to demonize LGBT people and distract citizens of Africa’s nations from finding solutions to the real problems they face. Furthermore, High-Ranking Campus Crusade Officials Led Conference Where Ethiopian Activist Declared Africa Would Become A ‘Graveyard For Homosexuality’. Rainbow-Ethiopia demands that Campus Crusade For Christ and other Christian Fundamentalist groups to immediately stop their hate propaganda or  leave the  country and come clean with the American public about their activities abroad, and immediately cease fomenting hatred against LGBT people in Africa, as people’s lives, quite literally, depend on it.

For more information:

Rainbow Ethiopia HIV and Social Support Services
Telephone: +1(202)-779-6464
Fax2mail:+ 27862385678
E-mail: director@rainbow-ethiopia.org

 

About Mercy

Mercy is a public health and humanitarian practitioner, strategist and community educator and mobilizer, blogger, HIV/AIDS and Social Justice/Human Rights Activist who is courageously advocating for the Dignity, Health Equity and non-discrimination of all Marginalized and Vulnerable Social Groups by fighting the prevalent HIV, the widespread Homophobia and other forms of socio-economic exclusions/injustice in Ethiopia. He is also the co-founder and director of the pioneer; Rainbow-Ethiopia Health and Human Rights Initiative, the one and only LGBTI Health and Human rights organization in Ethiopia Please feel free to Contact him at: rainbow-ethiopia@mail.com Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Posted on May 22, 2013, in Ethiopian LGBTI Community, LGBTI Human Rights in Ethiopia, MSM and HIV in Ethiopia, Rainbow-Ethiopia Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: