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Update: Liberia Pledges to Defend Gays From Attack

Update: Liberia Pledges to Defend Gays From Attack

Last week I reported on how a campaign had been launched in the West African country of Liberia to kill gay people and their supporters.

Leaflets said that “those involved in promoting gay rights should not be given space to get a gulp of air.”

This followed a pattern seen in Uganda with, first, the introduction of legislation making homosexuality a first degree felony, potentially a death sentence, and then violence directed at those speaking up for gays in the media.

Last month, the Nobel Peace Prize winning President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, refused to support those gay Liberians under sustained assault. The government later qualified her comments, saying she would veto proposed anti-gay legislation.

The reality is that the status quo in Liberia has been one of tolerance and no one has ever been prosecuted under that law,” they claimed, referring to existing sodomy legislation.

The president also thinks that with the unprecedented freedom of speech and expression Liberia enjoys today, our budding democracy will be strong enough to accommodate new ideas and debate both their value and Liberia’s laws with openness, respect and independence.

Following the distribution of leaflets naming and threatening to kill anyone supporting gay rights, the government has finally spoken out. It says:

“Supports the rights of any of its citizens to hold dear their traditional values, it will neither countenance nor condone any form of intolerance whose objective is to stifle the exercise of individual freedoms and the advance of civil liberties.”

“Accordingly, the relevant security agencies have been instructed to seriously investigate these threats and to swiftly arrest and prosecute anyone who threatens ‘to go after’ gays and their supporters,” a statement from the Information Ministry warned.

Nigerian gay groups are helping Liberia’s gay community and have just run a three-day workshop on security.

Related stories:

Campaign Launched to Kill Gays in Liberia

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Supports Gay-Bashing, Blair Looks On In Silence

Liberia Introduces ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill

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21 comments

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1:24PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Agree with Christopher C. and Robert T.,

1:22AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

for their next trick, they will create a new standard of safe sex education for all their citizens.

8:22PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Interesting that a country many would think of as "backward" is way ahead of the U.S. in this.

6:49PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Human Rights are HUMAN RIGHTS and they are for All ~ not a select few
~Except people like Michele H. (I don't think she or others like her are human)

2:10AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

in several african countries, even speaking up for gays puts one in danger. Shamefull silence from the pope.

6:50AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Let's hope the Liberian people are as tolerant as ms.Sirleaf expects them to be. Looking at the reality in many countries surrounding Liberia, I'm not secured by her words.
The fear and hatred of homosexuals is deeply ingrained in this part of Africa, and is stimulated by evangelists, who won't stop sharing their bigotted view of God with their congregation because of something the president said to placate the international community.
I hope I'm wrong, and Liberia will grow out to be a haven of tolerance, but somehow I doubt it.

6:21AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

If they follow through, this is wonderful news!! Finally, a country is speaking out and saying intelligent, tolerant, compassionate stuff--wow!!
Lydia was dead-on--"gay rights are human rights"--yes, mam they are and always have been!

5:42AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:05PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Good to hear.

1:44PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Jen M.: Spelling mistake there.

@Michele H.: You disgust me.

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