Entertainment and accommodation venues in Addis Ababa suspected to have links to LGBTIQ+ people are being targeted by city officials. (Photo: Hooaos)
The authorities in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have initiated a campaign to crack down on hotels, bars, and restaurants associated with the LGBTIQ+ community.
On Thursday, the Addis Ababa City Peace and Security Administration Office announced it was taking action, in collaboration with the city’s police, against entertainment and accommodation venues connected to anyone “suspected of committing homosexual acts.”
The office asserted that committing homosexual acts, which it described as “disgusting,” is illegal under Ethiopian law. Homosexuality is criminalised, with penalties including up to 15 years in prison.
Officials revealed in a statement on Facebook that action has already been taken against a guest house in the city following reports from the community. The proprietor had been detained, and an investigation was underway.
“Anyone who has information related to homosexual activities can come to the nearest police station to report it,” said the office. It further provided a toll-free number where citizens can call and provide authorities with information about suspected instances of same-sex intimacy.
Just days earlier, LGBTIQ+ activists raised the alarm about an increase in attacks in Ethiopia against individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Recent weeks have seen the widespread sharing of anti-LGBTIQ+ content on TikTok and other social media platforms, promoting vigilante justice. These videos and photographs often include personal details of forced confessions and physical assaults.
On Friday, the local LGBTIQ+ rights group House of Guramayle stated that their website was subjected to a sophisticated “distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack,” rendering the site temporarily inaccessible.
The organisation believed the attack was in response to their efforts to raise awareness about the plight of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Ethiopian rights groups are calling for solidarity and support from regional and international media outlets, human rights organisations, digital rights advocates, and other potential partners.