Liberia: Gays' Rights Not Country's Domestic Agenda, Says Defense Minister

Published: December 9, 2011

Liberia’s Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai has said prioritizing the rights of gays is not what he referred to as the domestic agenda of Liberia. The Liberian Defense Minister’s comments come in the wake of recent statements emanating from certain western countries and their leaders that countries in Africa must ensure that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against. The US has publicly declared it will fight discrimination against gays and lesbians abroad by using foreign aid and diplomacy to encourage reform. A memo from the Obama administration directs US government agencies to consider gay rights when making aid and asylum decisions. Similar policies already exist for gender equality and ethnic violence.

The announcement, described by the White House as the "first US government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad", is also being seen as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to gays and lesbians ahead of the 2012 election. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told an audience of diplomats in Geneva: "Gay rights are human rights"."It should never be a crime to be gay," Mrs. Clinton said at the United Nations in Geneva, adding that a country’s cultural or religious traditions were no excuse for discrimination. "Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world," Mrs. Clinton said in Geneva. "Being gay is not a Western invention.

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