ANC stop turning a blind eye!

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This is the perfect time for Pandor to speak out to keep LGBTQ people safe across Africa.

SA’s silence as Ghana steps up its persecution of the LGBTQ community is a stark illustration of its selective double standards on human rights.

Foreign minister Naledi Pandor has been vocal in her defence of the human rights of Palestinians and spoken out against the Taliban’s oppression of women and girls, yet she has consistently chosen to look the other way as a growing number of African governments tighten their anti-gay laws.

At present, 33 of 55 African countries criminalise gay relationships, with punishments that include fines and imprisonment. In 2023, Kenya, Namibia, Niger, Tanzania and Uganda all took steps to make life intolerable for LGBTQ people. Last month Ghana’s parliament passed a bill that increases the criminal penalties for consensual same-sex relations and broadens the scope of criminal sanctions to include people and organisations that advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Of course not all African countries are pulling in this direction. Seychelles, Lesotho, Botswana, Gabon and Angola are among those that have decriminalised same-sex relationships. But there is nevertheless a disturbing trend to which SA appears indifferent.

SA’s constitution protects the LGBTQ community by forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation, and the government will grant asylum to people fleeing persecution based on their tragedy.

As Pandor co-chairs the second SA-Ghana bilateral commission in Pretoria this week, now would be the perfect time for her to speak out to keep LGBTQ people safe in their home countries too.

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