Amnesty International’s annual International Report released this week claims that discrimination against LGBT people worsened in Africa last year.
The report looks at the state of human rights in 155 countries and territories during 2011.
When it comes to Africa, Amnesty says that in 2011 “discrimination against people based on their perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity worsened.”
It goes on to add: “Politicians not only failed to protect people’s right not to be discriminated against, but often used statements or actions to incite discrimination and persecution based on perceived sexual orientation.”
The organisation highlights the arrest of scores of people in Cameroon and the fact that some, such as Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. It also notes that the government proposed increasing prison sentences against gays and lesbians.
The report says that men were also arrested and prosecuted because of their perceived sexual orientation in Malawi, Mauritania and Zimbabwe.
In 2011, the government in Malawi enacted legislation to criminalise sexual relationships between women, and President Bingu wa Mutharika described gay men as “worse than dogs” at a political rally.
Amnesty’s report does not, however, include recent developments in Malawi, which have seen Mutharika’s successor, President Joyce Banda, announcing that she plans to overturn the country’s ban on homosexual acts.
The report also documents the Nigerian Senate passing a bill to further criminalise same-sex relationships, Ghana’s Western Region Minister calling for all gay men and lesbians to be arrested and the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato.
Amnesty comments that in South Africa, “civil society pressure to address violence against lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people, in particular lesbian women, led to a Task Team being set up by the authorities to prevent violence based on perceived sexual orientation”.