Main | Thursday, August 09, 2012

LIBERIA: United Nations Condemns Proposed Anti-Gay Legislation

The United Nations Human Rights Office has condemned Liberia's plan to stiffen the penalties for homosexuality.
The new legislation makes homosexual acts, including sodomy and lesbian acts, a second degree felony, the punishment for which includes a fine and up to five years in jail. Such acts, including "voluntary sodomy," are currently classified as misdemeanors and carry a one-year jail sentence. Additionally, the amendments also impose penalties on anyone who "seduces, encourages, or promotes another person of the same gender to engage into sexual activities." Despite calls from international agencies to decriminalize homosexuality, many in Liberia continue to stand by their conservative beliefs regarding homosexual behavior. In March 2012, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf defended her country's criminalization of homosexuality, telling Britain's Tony Blair in an interview with the Guardian: "We like ourselves just the way we are [...] we've got certain traditional values in our society that we would like to preserve."
RELATED: In April a Liberian anti-gay Christian group published a hit list of "suspected homosexuals" and vowed to track those persons down for brutal punishment. Their list closed with a warning that its targets should "start saying the Lord's Prayer."

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