Report: Malawi "Reviewing" Antigay Law
December 13 2011 2:01 PM ET
Following Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on universal LGBT rights before the United Nations one week ago in Geneva, the east African country of Malawi is reviewing, though not rescinding, a law that condemns same-sex “indecent practices and unnatural acts.”
Voice of America reports:
Malawi’s Justice Minister, Ephraim Chiume, last week called for a review of the law. Kamanga told VOA the government is referring the law and other provisions, especially those that have attracted adverse public comments, to the Law Commission for recommendation.
“I wouldn’t say backing away is the right word. There are a number of other laws that have also received public comments, and what the government is doing is, we are taking the opportunity to look at all those laws, and we are referring those laws and provisions to the Malawi Law Commission. We are hoping that, as a way forward, we can have specific recommendations,” he said.
Last week the Obama administration articulated its foreign policy as it pertains to LGBT rights. Goals issued to agencies working abroad include protecting LGBT asylum seekers in dangerous regions and engaging with on-the-ground NGOs working to stop human rights abuses against gays. Reported human rights abuses in Malawi have already put the nation under scrutiny by aid groups in the U.S. and the U.K.
Responding to recent calls from U.K. prime minister David Cameron to cut one type of bilateral aid to Commonwealth countries that criminalize LGBT people, a Malawi government spokeswoman said it was “unfortunate” for Britain to tie “pro-gay strings” to foreign aid.