Zimbabwe Threatens Expulsion of Foreign Diplomats who Support LGBT Rights
This week in a televised address, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, whose long tenure has been synonymous with human rights violations and the subversion of democracy, again made news by adding more hateful rhetoric to the wave of homophobia spreading through parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Mugabe announced that he will expel from the country any foreign diplomat who speaks in support of homosexuality. He went on to say that same-sex sexual activity is “inhuman” and that “human rights cannot derive from acts that are inhuman.” Considering the widespread violation of rights under his reign, the remarks were chilling for Zimbabwe’s LGBT community.
This news follows positive developments this week in the Horn of Africa, where a rally in support of homophobic laws was cancelled by organizers in Ethiopia. The cancellation was accompanied by remarks from an official who revealed that a controversial amendment deeming homosexual acts as non-pardonable by law had been removed from consideration. The pair of announcements were two glimmers of hope for LGBT Ethiopians who continue to face 15 years imprisonment if convicted of same-sex sexual activity.
Unfortunately, Mugabe’s remarks don’t leave room for much hope for change in Zimbabwe. Since his first days in power, Mugabe has led the charge on strengthening the country’s set of anti-sodomy laws and has sought to repress any public display of LGBT equality. With these latest remarks it appears that he seeks to not merely violate the basic human rights of Zimbabweans, but to expel foreigners who dare speak out in their defense.