ivory_coast_gay_group_activists_in_hidingThe authorities in the Ivory Coast must urgently investigate the unprecedented wave of homophobic attacks in Abidjan, which has forced many HIV workers to go into hiding, says Amnesty International.

On 25 January, the office of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire – an organisation working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) living with HIV  was ransacked by a mob of around 200 people. Computers were stolen and the security officer was beaten so badly he required medical treatment.

When members of the organisation contacted the police they were accused of being homosexuals and working as pimps and were told that the police had more important work to do.

Earlier last week, an angry mob threw rocks and garbage at the Alternative Côte d’Ivoire office in Abidjan. The building walls were daubed with graffiti saying “Non aux pédés (No to fags)”.

On 20 January, the house of the Director of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire, Claver Touré, was attacked in the area of Angré in Abidjan. A member of the security forces was reportedly among the attackers.

According to Amnesty, several people working in the organisation are now in hiding in fear of further attacks. This despite Alternative Côte d’Ivoire being an officially registered organization that works closely with the country’s Ministry of Health.

“The only way to stop the unprecedented homophobic witch-hunt taking place in Côte d’Ivoire is for the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice. Failing to do that will only lead for more violence,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

Sex between consenting adults of the same sex is legal in Ivory Coast, which has a population of around 20 million, but LGBTI people have no specific protection from discrimination under the law.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend