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Western aid to Malawi not dependent on gay rights - US

21 January 2016, 19:04

Lilongwe – United States Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI persons, Randy Berry, has quashed rumours that Western aid to Malawi was dependent on whether or not same-sex marriage was legalised.

According to Nyasa Times, Berry described as "completely false" rumours that the US would only provide aid to Malawi if homosexuality was not outlawed.

Berry, who is currently in the southern African country, said he was not in Malawi to convince the government to accept homosexuality, but to support and encourage the end of discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people in the country.

Berry said US relations with Malawi were more focused on improving governance. The rights of the LGBTI community and other minorities could not be separated from governance and the law, he said.

He said the winds were changing in Malawi, as the LGBTI movement was growing.

Under the current law, those found guilty of homosexuality in Malawi, could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison with hard labour. However, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu recently indicated that the laws against homosexuals would be reviewed.

Most homophobic continent

President Peter Mutharika was also in the news recently, saying he wanted the rights of the LGBTI community to be respected and protected.

Mutarika's remarks came after Ken Msonda, spokesperson for the former ruling People's Party, demanded that homosexuals be killed.

Msonda described homosexuals as being worse than dogs and that gays and lesbians were "sons and daughters of the devil".

"Arresting them won’t address this problem because sooner or later they are being released on bail. The best way to deal with this problem is to KILL them!,” Msonda reportedly posted on his Facebook page.

Msonda was not the first African politician to have openly discriminated against homosexuals.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has always expressed his disgust over homosexuality. He once described gays as being "worse than pigs and dogs".

According to a report by the Guardian, the African continent was the most homophobic continent in the world.

According to Amnesty International, homosexuality was illegal in 36 of Africa’s 55 countries and punishable by death in some.

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- News 24


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