Unmasking the African Abstentions

Irked by the violence especially silent deaths against the LGBT community around the world, the United Nations Human Rights Council decided to appoint an independent watchdog to focus on the investigations of violence against people strictly on grounds of sexual orientation. The tenure of this investigator is for three years. No African country voted in favour of this appointment with them either voting against it or abstaining totally.

Not surprising, Nigeria one of the world’s most homophobic nations voted against it with smaller countries like Burundi, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire following suit. No official statements was given by their representatives for their vote pattern but it is clear that the state organised homophobia which is a good red herring to cover up for their failed economic policies is a reason for their action.

Countries like Ghana, Namibia, Botswana decided to abstain from the vote. The most surprising was South Africa’s decision to abstain.

The Rainbow country is the most advanced in the continent on LGBT issues and it was rather curious that they showed a high level of indifference to the plight of the LGBT by this decision. What could be responsible for this given that barely two years ago they were in the forefront of studying sexual orientation and gender identity?

The permanent representative to the UN at the time, ambassador Abdul Samad Minty, said SA was required by the “supreme law of our country to support a resolution that seeks to reduce discrimination and violence on any basis, including in this case, on the basis of sexual orientation or gendered identities”.

On March 5 2016, the SA Human Rights Commission hosted the first regional African seminar to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.

The South African Delegate Ambassador, Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko said that South Africa was committed to ending violence against people on the grounds of sexual orientation but that the reason for her abstention was because the resolution was arrogant and divisive.

The Diplomat failed to establish how the sponsors of the resolution were arrogant. His explanations failed to point out why post apartheid South Africa should back down on fighting for the protection of these vulnerable sexual minorities. Pundits are now wondering whether the pressure from blatantly homophobic nations like Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya have gotten into the skin of Nelson Mandela’s country. It is sad that they have not sufficiently learnt from the wounds of apartheid about the ills of discrimination.

The reality is that South Africa is supposed to be the vanguard against a system of organised discrimination and this is a big let down for individuals desirous of a discrimination free society. How Tragic!

Public spirited individuals and activists alike should not allow this setback deter them from pressing on for a better deal for all irrespective of sexual orientation. It may sound utopian now but the cost of not dreaming usually outweighs that of dreaming.

Liberty must come to Africa!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Anthony_Ademiluyi/2311174