African Ministers Agreed to Reject any attempts by UN and Sexual Rights Activists to Promote LGBT Human Rights

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From  October 3rd – 4th 2013, African Regional Conference on Population and Development was held in Addis Ababa and African ministers from 52 African countries concluded their 2-day segment of the Regional Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 with the adoption of a controversial document called the ‘Addis Ababa declaration’. The declaration was adopted after the two-day ministerial segment of the conference which followed close to two weeks of discussions and debates in pre-events by youth, civil society organisations (CSOs) and experts. After extensive discussions and an informal meeting of heads of delegations, countries agreed on all commitments, in a clear reflection of the position of most African countries on homosexuality, the majority delegates shot down a clause that would seek to promote gay and lesbian rights.

In In the 89-paragraph document, the ministers replaced the UN human rights and fundamental freedoms for all phrase, ‘without distinction of any kind’ with a phrase ‘in accordance with national laws and policies’ because of its elastic interpretation to meanings that might be unacceptable in Africa for various reasons including homosexuality and abortion, the ministers also agreed to reject any attempts by UN and sexual rights activists to promote homosexuality and abortion in Africa.

They argued that since they were representing the sovereign interests of their countries, they would not adopt a declaration which covertly promotes homosexual rights which are in conflict with their countries’ cultural values. The concern of the majority delegates was that the clause was promoting homosexual rights in a subtle way.

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The aim of the conference was to make recommendations that will accelerate progress towards the goals set out in the 1994 Programme of Action (PoA), which was the outcome of the ICPD, held in Cairo, Egypt, and which governments pledged to implement.

Following a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the follow-up to the ‘ICPD Beyond 2014’, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) undertook an operational review of the implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) on the African Continent.

The document also emphasizes implementation of the declaration through a number of channels, such as mainstreaming it into the work plans of the African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Post-2015 development agenda.

The International Women’s Health Coalition sent staff to Addis Ababa to conduct a multi-day advocacy workshop to equip feminist groups to campaign for sexual and reproductive rights, “including access to safe and legal abortion.” After the conference ended, advocacy director Shannon Kowalski expressed her disappointment on Twitter: “Still feeling traumatized from last week’s frenzy of hate.”

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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 October 22, 2013, in African LGBTI News, Human Rights and Media in Ethiopia, LGBTI Human Rights in Ethiopia, MSM and HIV in Ethiopia, World LGBTI News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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