A leaked Cable of US Embassy Addis Ababa, dated Dec. 30,2009, claims that:
‘a thriving LGBT social scene exists in Addis Ababa. Parties are generally unannounced and held in private homes or bars, with invitations distributed via word of mouth or text messaging….events are held at least on a weekly basis, with attendance of more than 50 people not unusual. ’
LGBT is an abbreviation to ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (or transsexual)’.
According to the Cable, citing Embassy ‘contacts’, such Such events have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events.
The Cable notes that Ethiopia is a conservative society and Homosexual conduct is punishable under Ethiopia’s Crime law. However, it claims that:
* Post[the Embassy] is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct that have been prosecuted in recent years or any pending cases for homosexual acts between adults.
* In the past year, post received limited reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may have been scarce due to fears of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals.
* [social events of LGBTs] have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events.
* As in other countries, urban residents and young people are likely to be more tolerant of homosexual behavior when compared to their rural and elder counterparts, but even among this group conservative views dominate.
The US Embassy is of the opinion that ‘there is not an appreciable level of homosexual prostitution or sex tourism in Ethiopia.’
The Cable also mentions a December 2008 campaign by Ethiopian religious leaders and an NGO called "United for Life" . The Campaign mainly involved the signing of a resolution by a ‘dozens ‘of religious leaders condemning homosexuality and urging the parliament to ban homosexuality in the Constitution. However, the Constitution was not amended to that effect, nor does it seem likely.
A group called Rainbow Ethiopia LGBT/MSM, however, described the year 2009, as follows:
LAST YEAR CHALLENGES/2009
1.On December 28,2008 an alliance of religious leaders from Ethiopian Orthodox church,Muslim, catholic & the evangelical church with an NGO called <united for life Ethiopia>held a three days homophobic conference & submit 10 points ultimatum to urge the government to the constitutionalisation of death sentence to any homosexual acts even between two consented adult. The alliance perceive this social group as mentally ill/criminals and the all want us to relocate top mental hospitals/concentration camp/remote prisons which are full of wild animals & yellow fever. They consider this sexual orientation as communicable/contagious plague.
2. Many local Medias & presses such as Kumneger magazine, royal magazine, lamrot magazine, Ethiochahnal news papers & many others are printing very sarcastic catalyzing articles & open psychological homophobic war to agitate the general society against this social group. If these trends continue we may face more additional danger both from the government & the public. These will jeopardize the whole Ethiopians sexual minorities in general & our steering organization members in particular.
3. On February 5, 2009 an American diplomat Brian Daniel working in the visa section of the embassy has been found dead in his home by head injury using golf clubby homophobic attack of his own Ethiopian friends.
4. AFP has transmitted a short documentary program on the harsh & secret life style of Ethiopians sexual minorities by interviewing some of them & collecting some information from the other resources.
5. The other issue is the publishing of homophobic book religion & sodomy by the Episcopal of Ethiopian orthodox church of A.A BISHOP SAMUEL which aims to the public uprising against us especially the church followers.
6. The homophobic rally by the Pentecostal church leaders & followers to condemn us irrationally. Generally all the above mentioned & other government & public homophobic actions has a very negative impact on our life. We are now the high risk groups in the society. at any time we may face public attack at any place, we don have either a legal ground our organizational capacity to respond to this defamation,intimidation,harassment & attack because we are very resource constrained.So,we need a partner for capacity building assistance to our organization well functioning.
Generally, to accomplish all the projects into fruition, we need the support of international humanitarians in the form of financial, technical, material.Please send us a message if you have any comments/suggestions.Therefore please be the part of this human right project. We are waiting your generous support.
UN Human Rights Committee
The call for ‘support of international humanitarians’, in the above quoted statement, didn’t fall on deaf ears, it seems. In deed, the issue is one of the major concerns of the United Nations Human Rights Committee with regard to Ethiopia.
The Committee, responsible to review the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, stated on its list of recommendations to Ethiopia last July, that:
The Committee is concerned about the criminalization of “homosexuality and other indecent acts”, as are other international human rights treaty bodies. As pointed out by the Committee, such criminalization violates the rights to privacy and to protection against discrimination set out in the Covenant. The Committee’s concerns are not allayed by the information furnished by the State party that the provision in question is not applied in practice or by its statement that it is important to change mindsets before modifying the law in this regard (arts. 2, 17 and 26).
The State party [Ethiopia] should take steps to decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex in order to bring its legislation into line with the Covenant. The State party should also take the necessary steps to put an end to the social stigmatization of homosexuality and send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or violence against persons based on their sexual orientation.
Prior to the issuance of the recommendation, the Committee had discussed the issue with a high level Ethiopian delegation led by Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. The Committee probed about the state of ‘same sex sexual activity’ in Ethiopia at least twice during in the discussion. The summarized minutes of the discussion posted by the Committee reads:
* [Committee members:] The criminalization of same sex sexual activity raised serious issues under several articles of the Covenant, including articles dealing with privacy and non-discrimination. Ethiopia had not registered reservations to these articles. How could the State invoke public morals, social norms and customs in a manner that led to stigmatization, violence and disparities in medical care?
The delegation said….In terms of sexual orientation and homosexuality, the delegation said that there was some difficulty in having discussions on this issue because it was a criminal act in Ethiopia and this currently was not being discussed in the country. The delegation did not know of anyone who had been prosecuted under this law and it had not been discussed publicly. What the State could do at this point was state the facts, which was that the law was unlikely to be changed at this point.
* [Committee members:] Concerning homosexuality, the fact that homosexuals were not pursued by the law did not mean they were not discriminated against. There was a feeling that homosexuals preferred to hide. Could Ethiopia do something to protect these individuals, an Expert asked?
The Ethiopian delegation said…..concerning sexual orientation, it was not in a position to respond further to the questions raised by the Committee. There was no possibility of changing the law on this subject at present. However, Ethiopia did not question in any way that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protected all persons.
You may read the full text of the Cable below
Related posts (in this blog):
Reference ID – 09ADDISABABA3027
Created – 2009-12-30 05:09
Released – 2011-08-26 00:00
Classification – UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Origin – Embassy Addis Ababa
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DE RUEHDS #3027/01 3640509
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7286
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3466
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1976
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003027
DEPT FOR AF FRONT OFFICE
ALSO AF/RSA FOR LOUIS MAZEL, LAURA GRIESMER, LEARNED DEES
AF/E FOR JOEL WIEGERT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: HUMAN RIGHTS TRENDS REGARDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION
REF: STATE 130765
¶1. (SBU) Ethiopia is a conservative society, as the vast majority of the population identifies itself as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian or Muslim. Leaders of both religious groups have denounced homosexuality. Homosexual conduct between adults is criminalized under Ethiopian law and punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Post is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct as such that have been prosecuted in recent years. In December 2008, a local organization named "United for Life" organized nearly a dozen religious leaders to sign a resolution urging lawmakers to ban homosexuality in the constitution. The Government of Ethiopia took no action as a result of this resolution. Post is aware of very few reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may be limited due to fears of retribution. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals. End Summary.
Criminal Codes and Prosecution
¶2. (U) Homosexual conduct is criminalized under Articles 629-632 of the Ethiopian penal code. Homosexual conduct between adults is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Homosexual conduct between an adult male and a male aged 13-18 is punishable by imprisonment from three to 15 years; between an adult male and an a male under age 13 is punishable by imprisonment from 15 to 25 years; and between an adult female and a minor female (any age) is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Homosexual conduct involving a subordinate relationship (e.g., guardian, teacher, employer) and homosexual prostitution are punishable by one to ten years imprisonment. (Note: Post concludes there is not an appreciable level of homosexual prostitution or sex tourism in Ethiopia. End note.) Imprisonment for life may theoretically be imposed in cases where "sexual outrage has caused the death or grave physical or mental injury upon the victim, or where the victim is driven to suicide by distress, shame, or despair." Post is not aware of any cases of homosexual conduct that have been prosecuted in recent years or any pending cases for homosexual acts between adults.
¶3. (SBU) Ethiopia is a conservative society, as the vast majority of the population identifies as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian or Muslim. Leaders of both religious groups have denounced homosexuality. In the past year, post received limited reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; however, reporting may have been scarce due to fears of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. The anecdotal reports post is aware of come from credible sources and include forced marriages and rapes of LGBT individuals.
¶4. (SBU) Despite these negative attitudes, a thriving LGBT social scene exists in Addis Ababa. Parties are generally unannounced and held in private homes or bars, with invitations distributed via word of mouth or text messaging. Post contacts report that events are held at least on a weekly basis, with attendance of more than 50 people not unusual. Such events have been forced to relocate, sometimes on short notice, because of real or perceived threats to the establishments where they are held. However, no arrests or harassment have been reported linked to these social events. As in other countries, urban residents and young people are likely to be more tolerant of homosexual behavior when compared to their rural and elder counterparts, but even among this group conservative views dominate.
Recent Advocacy Campaigns
ADDIS ABAB 00003027 002 OF 002
¶5. (SBU) In December 2008, nearly a dozen religious leaders signed a resolution against homosexuality, urging lawmakers to endorse a ban on homosexual activity in the constitution. No action was taken by the government on this request. This effort was led by the organization "United for Life," which also campaigned against abortion rights.
Check the Wikileaks Archive for previous and forthcoming posts.
22 Reactions on this Article
I hope God interrupts your plan!!! Our country is not going to be a homosexuals country!!!! If we have to go to war–we will.
Homosexuality has nothing to do with human right!!!! It is a moral issue!!!! It is sin against God!!!! This life style is only for the sick and control by the Devil. You all cursed and destined for HELL!!!! Lucifer you Father is waiting for you in hell!!!!!
I believe true Ethiopians would not choose this lifestyles!!!! These are collection of people came from another part of countries and like to spoil Ethiopia. I am sadden about all these!!!!
We the once who love and fear God pray for our country–and God will our prayers!!!!
Victory to Jesus Christ!!!!!! The Devil is a LOSER!!!!! It doesn’t matter what the homosexuals plan is –they already defeated–in Jesus’ name Amen. It is better for you to give yourself to God–leave a sinful LIFE!!!!!!!
Don be unti, gay mean not who rape child n homosexuality is not a disease dat transmit so don b jealous we r born zis way let us 2 live our live , i swear i hate the 1 who rape what ever its gay or straight raping is crime but being gay is nature
Why wé are always b until just try 2 understand
There are of 500 documented examples of homosexuality in different creatures of the animal kingdom. However, only one species has so far been capable of homophobia. Which is therefore more natural?
You all are haters!!!
Hush an get a clue toilet guy
u know what i don’t want 2 c ur i’s when u r alive. but i like 2 give ur cutten neck 2 ur mother as sodomis gift
GO THERE FROM OUR LAND YOUR NOT AN ETHIOPIAN BOY.
OUR LAND IS VOMITING YOU
WE NEED OUR GENERATION , YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS CANCER FOR GENERATION.
THIS US & EU LOST THEIR GENERATION , HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT HUMAN RIGHT , EVEN ANIMALS DON’ LIKE THIS KIND OF RELATION. GOD’S JUDGMENT WILL UPON YOU. BACK TO YOUR NATURE YOU ARE HUMAN BEING.
TURN BACK TO YOUR CREATOR GOD CREATE YOU AS A HUMAN WHO HAVE MIND, WHY YOU CHOOSE TO BE LESS THAN DOGS. EVEN PLANTS HAVE MALE & FEMALE.
You know you are like a toilet, ETHIOPIA HAS NOT A CHILD LIKE YOU. SHAME ON YOU
Stupid & under Animal
Ethiopia is not sodomy! No room for homosexuality in our Land! Homosexuality is Abomination & Against Almighty God.
I AM AN ETHIOPIA MAN LIVING IN ADDIS ABABA ANY MEN FOR GAY DATING CALL ME IN MY PHONE NUMBER
OR CALL ME
Ethiopians, now that you have sided with the Americans instead of learning to cooperate with your neighbour Eritrea…Now that you have betrayed your own brothers and sisters across the border in favour in favour of the US, you will see Bradley Manning type sodomy and rape rise in your communties. Mark my words!
It is good to read the things that i have being suffering for acceptance by the society, by the religion persons , generally by Ethiopians. I am a regular Gay Ethiopian, lived here all my life . But i had relations as i wanted no mater what. i always follow my heart, not what people want me to be.
Thanks for all
Many thanks for your respectable journalistic neutrality in publishing this article.
Look forward for your future posts.
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