In a move that is could give rise to one of the most celebrated occasions for the LGBT community of South Africa, Malawi has repealed anti-gay laws and after the securing the majority in parliament this can well become official.
The move is seen a bold initiative in the African continent where the community has always suffered from prejudices. According to the Amnesty International report on the issue, the justice minister of South Africa has said that the homosexuality law is suspended for the time being and no possible action could be initiated against homosexuals till the time parliament lets its mandate out.
It would be interesting to know the nature of suppression that LGBT’s suffered in South Africa is evident from the fact that prior to suspension of laws, a homosexual could be sentenced to as much as 14 years in jail for being one.
Reports from CNN throw light on Malawi’s connection with LGBT community. It states that in 2010 it Malawi who arrested two men for getting married to each other but also released them later after being pressurized sustainably from the international community.
One civil rights group’s director Noel Kututwa has told CNN, “Amnesty International welcomes Minister (Ralph) Kasambara’s statement and hopes it serves as the first step toward ending discrimination and persecution based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in Malawi,” No statement has been issued by the justice ministry though.
President Joyce Banda has given her reassurance to look into the laws in a bid to strengthen its ties with international donors. International donors including Britain has issued warning to countries where gay rights were absent by threatening to stop giving aids to such countries.
The predecessor of Joyce Banda has however tried to keep going the conventional way and put the aid received for the poor and faced the wrath of critics. The so-called laws on homosexuality (sodomy), in force in most of African countries were received by these countries from their colonial masters when they were given freedom but these laws are still in effect in these countries.
However, in the latest news reported ny LA Times on the issue on November 8,2012, Justice Minister of Malawi has denied any move on repealing anti-gay laws in Malawi.
Source: CNN, LA Times
Photos: allafrica, 3news, latimes, globalpost