Flyers are being distributed in Monroeville, Liberia’s capital, by a group calling itself the Movement against Gays in Liberia (MOGAL), saying that those involved in gay rights “should not be given space to get a gulp of air.”
The news matches a pattern familiar to Uganda watchers.
Last year, the West African nation’s former first lady Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor (whose husband is being tried for war crimes in The Hague) introduced legislation making homosexuality a first degree felony, which reportedly could result in imprisonment of ten years to life, or a death sentence at the discretion of the judge.
Those sticking up for gays in the resulting media storm have been violently threatened.
Now we have an actual planned campaign of death.
“Having conducted a comprehensive investigation, we are convinced that the below listed individuals are gays or supporters of the club who don’t mean well for our country,” the fliers read. “Therefore, we have agreed to go after them using all means in life.”
According to the Associated Press, the US Embassy in Liberia would not comment.
Last month, the Nobel Peace Prize winning President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, refused to support gay Liberians currently under sustained assault. She was at a joint appearance with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Pressed on the issue, Blair refused to comment. He was described by The Guardian as “looking visibly uncomfortable.”
At an African Union summit in January, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged African leaders to respect gay rights and to stop treating gay people as second-class citizens and criminals. When pushed on the UN secretary general’s comments, with Sirleaf at his side, Blair responded: “I’m not saying these issues aren’t important, but the president has given her position and this is not one for me.”
Prior to the death threat leaflets, The Coalition of LGBT Liberians and Allies and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said:
The sharp increase in public bigotry and violence targeting LGBT Liberians is alarming. As discrimination is being institutionalized, with government officials and print and social media taking dangerous, homophobic positions, Sirleaf’s remarks add fuel to an already blazing fire. Religious leaders, too, are using their influence to demonize and marginalize LGBT Liberians as being un-African, un-Liberian, and ungodly.
Liberia has a unique history as a haven for oppressed people. This history deserves to be honored, and Liberia’s international commitments to uphold human rights sustained. We must not sit in silence as some would divide and disrupt Liberia’s attempts to rebuild a nation where every Liberian feels safe, secure, and able to contribute toward building a forward-thinking Liberia.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.