Ethiopia Anti-Gay Bill Expected to Pass Next Week

EthiopiaEthiopia is joining an increasing number of African countries that are hardening anti-gay laws that affect their gay and lesbian citizens. Last week a bill was endorsed by Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers, making homosexual acts “unpardonable.” This bill is expected to be passed quickly when it is brought to a vote next week.

In Ethiopia, sexual same-gender acts are illegal and punishable with up to 15 years in prison. The jail term is 25 years if someone convicted of this felony also infects another person with HIV. A pardon is granted to thousands of prisoners every year on the Ethiopian New Year. However, if the new law is approved, the president will no longer have the power to carry out these pardons.

Ostensibly to derail negative comments, the head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Mr. Tiruneh Zena, said that a pardon is a privilege, not a right. Therefore he says that passing the bill would not be harmful to gays and lesbians, and he stated that it should not affect the LGBT community in any significant way.

Ethiopia Thirty-eight countries in Africa criminalize homosexuality – approximately 70 percent of the continent. Imprisonment for same-sex acts is currently the law in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, parts of Nigeria, Cameroon, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, as well as Ethiopia. The death penalty for gay acts is the law in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, parts of Nigeria, Mauritania, and parts of Somalia. Only Mali, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, and South Africa consider homosexual acts legal, and in South Africa, it is in fact legal to marry a same-sex spouse. The other African nations have contradictory laws, for example, in Angola there are laws against discrimination, but people are jailed for homosexual acts.

Anti-gay sentiment and legislation is becoming more prominent throughout Africa. In Ethiopia, homosexuality is not discussed openly – not even by human rights groups. Passing the new bill next week would make the topic more openly discussed and expectations would change in this country within the Horn of Africa. (The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in North East Africa that extends hundreds of miles into the Arabian Sea.)

Ethiopia’s minister for women, children and youth affairs, Zenebu Tadesse, received criticism on social media for a Twitter post attributed to her that denounced Uganda’s recent harsh anti-gay law. She responded that her Twitter account had been hacked and the views were not her own. However, immediately after the Tweet was posted, her Twitter account was removed.

Mr. Gay World featured two black African men for the first time ever; they were from Namibia and Ethiopia.

On the other side of the coin, just two years ago, Mr. Gay World featured two black African men for the first time ever; they were from Namibia and Ethiopia. The purpose of the annual competition is both to champion gay rights and to empower homosexual men. The Ethiopian winner, 24-year-old Robel Hailu, has taken an enormous risk in participating in the South African event. In fact, his family found out about their son’s sexual orientation through media reports and has subsequently cut him off completely. While Hailu expected negative reactions, he didn’t expect that his family would disown him. He is a student in South Africa and now feels that he can never return home. He is fortified by the traumatic situation, however, saying that he now wants to speak out about how painful it is to be gay in Ethiopia.

Dr. Dagmawi Woubshet is Ethiopia’s first openly gay Ethiopian professor. He made the list of the ten best professors at Cornell University in New York, where he teaches.

Another gay Ethiopian man, Dr. Dagmawi Woubshet is Ethiopia’s first openly gay Ethiopian professor. He made the list of the ten best professors at Cornell University in New York, where he teaches. His students claim what a fair professor he is, and that, while he gives them difficult questions to ponder in class and through homework, he is dedicated and one of the best professors they have ever had.

The Foundation of International Human Rights Law is the human rights statement created through the aforementioned Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. The law speaks of the commitment to human rights in the form of principles, agreements, and domestic law, and includes guaranteed protection for all manner of human rights expressions.

The human rights law expressly states the importance of universal values and the inherent importance of human rights to the entire international community. The law includes fairness, universality, and non-discrimination, applied to everyone, everywhere and always. It speaks of how the entire community belongs to Ethiopia, including African women, men, children, youth, elderly; those living with HIV/AIDS and those with disabilities, both rural and city-dwellers. It continues that, even more than ever before, in a world that faces the threat of divides along racial, economic, and religious lines, these universal principles must be defended: equality, fairness, and justice for all people across all boundaries. It is unclear how the human rights law would work in tandem with the anti-gay bill that imprisons people for same-sex acts without any hope expected of pardon. After next week the country will see the results.

By Fern Remedi-Brown

ABC News
BBC News World
The Australian
Radio Netherlands Worldwide Africa
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

13 Responses to "Ethiopia Anti-Gay Bill Expected to Pass Next Week"

  1. fish   July 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    gay is a condemned act and ugly habit kill homosexual people from this superb world

  2. Efreme   April 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Why God create man and woman ? And why would you like to be a gay, or homosexuality ? is that godly way? Not don’t miss the way, and don’t bring the coarse (karce) to the nation’s, don’t oppose the Lord, you will pay a price on your life go and read bibel Genesis chapter 1,2,3and 4 you will get the answer…….

  3. gha   March 28, 2014 at 7:43 am

    mindy you are an idiot mixing apples with oranges,Here the issue is homosexuality,an immoral act. why don’t you give us your opinion on the issue rather than jumping to attack Islam.You did not mention a single word about homosexuality. Are you a closet Homo sitting behind a computer and enjoy spewing poison.

  4. sam   March 27, 2014 at 3:08 am


    • SAM   March 27, 2014 at 3:09 am

      Good job ETH…no Animals allowed in zion.

  5. danuda   March 27, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Bad to Hear this, as the bible said ” Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    …… Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Rome 1 : 22

  6. sam   March 26, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Don’t let you religions decide what you think. Do you remember when they used to tell us Ethiopia is very lemele, lemlemo hagera and very Holly? Then you went out of ET and saw other countries and you found out the opposite?in fact we where what???? Now I’m going to help you to open a different eye. I ask you to spend a few hours at the borders book store and read about other new kind of philosophy and religions and then you will find out; it is like going to another country, and finding out after all, your religion is not sooo lemelem after all. I’m guy who love chicks, but i also love reading and discovering other venues.
    Just one day, one day when you get pissed off, really pissed off about your life, just go to bornes and nobles and read about so call other gods or religions, and you will find out that was the best day of your entire life. You will find healing, love, and your soul more likely will celebrate your graduation. Don’t be surprise my friends. I hope I helped.

  7. Immoral   March 26, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t have any personal hate to those ‘gay’ people. However, If you don’t think this is immoral, then there is nothing you can say immoral. With this trend, we will soon see many people come out to marry their pets/animals. And we will still say human right/individual right. I rather be condemned for my stand against homosexuality than praised as being educated/civilized for supporting it. After all my life is guided by my religion. My religion rejects homosexuality, period. This generation can’t be smarter than those lived before to understand human right with respect to homosexuality. I am not talking about individuals , i am talking about the action. It is immoral according to the bible, and it is worded explicitly. Call me whatever, but i have said the truth.
    “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28

  8. Norman Dostal   March 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

    No surprise that the sewer of teh world with teh least educated peopel would target gays-

  9. Des   March 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Well done Ethiopia!!! Keep up the good move and legalize it soon. Sodomy is sin and immoral. God created male and female not male and male or female and female. God created family to reproduce and make them male and female.

  10. Mindy   March 26, 2014 at 7:28 am

    What do all these countries have in common? Besides being in Africa. That they are being taken over by Islam.
    Islam is a dangerous, demonic idealology, not equal to, but more evil than nazisum, that does not see anyone having any human rights,period. I do know what the Bible says about homosexuality. But we are called to love the gay person. Not hate them. We are to pray for them & love them & help them any time we see injustice. This is the difference between the Bible & the Quran. The Bible teaches love, the Quran teaches hate. This is only the beginning as this demonic idealolgy of Islam stretches it’s evil tentacles across the world. And weirdly enough, the western world is strangely silent about the global atrosities being done in the name of Islam or is it really that strange??

    • solomon   March 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      @mindy I donot think you know the bible very well. Sodomite is mentioned in the original bible may not be in yours. Opposing misconduct by law is not about hating somebody. Rather taking care of generations.

    • Jon   April 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Actually, Mindy, Ethiopia is evenly split between Christians and Muslims, and it’s the Christians who are leading the charge when it comes to bigotry. The Bible, it seems, teaches whatever the reader wants to hear.


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