Liberia is in a crisis.
It is a crisis that is not unique to mankind but Liberia, like many countries on the continent and beyond, continues to live in a state of denial, pretending that it is not so.
This crisis border on the treatment of Liberia’s sexual and gender minorities. This unprecedented denial and feigned blindness have led to the violation of the rights of Liberia’s sexual minorities.
Despite countless proofs that human sexuality—whether homosexual or heterosexual—is innate and cannot be cooked up in a biological warfare laboratory, or it is not a western invention, or culture meant to further “western interests” (whatever that meant), the basic human rights of the former are continuously trampled upon.
From the outlook, it seems the violation of the rights of Liberia’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) population will continue unabated for long period with no end in sight.
In a recent publication by the online platform, journalRAGE, a young man revealed that he is regularly beaten and bullied in his community and has been disowned by his family due to him being gay.
In November 2019, partygoers reportedly attending a birthday party at a location in the quiet suburbs of Sinkor were rudely awakened to stone-throwing, assault and other forms of violence against their person.
In September 2018, a constellation of Liberia’s key population, including LGBT, PLHIV (People Living with HIV), drug users, etc gathered at the same location for the opening of a Drop-in Center and again, they were attacked and severely beaten under a torrential downpour.
In July 2019, two LGBT teenagers who spoke to journalRAGE revealed that they have been thrown out of their homes from their families over their sexuality and face further assault from their communities.
Such a tale of recurring violence, which cannot be counted nor listed here, being perpetrated against people from the LGBT community seems to be the new normal.
At police depots across the country, when cases of violence against LGBT persons are taken to law enforcement to deter and stop these attacks from happening, the police often blame the sexuality of the victim, rather than dealing with the perpetrator, according to numerous reports, including the 2018 United States Department human rights reports on Liberia.
In hospitals from Montserrado to Maryland, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for sexual minorities to show up to get much-needed treatment against STIs and STDs, no thanks to scornful and homophobic and transphobic comments from health workers.
Couple with unsafe sexual practices, this has led to a steep rise in the number of HIV/AIDs cases. Gay men and lesbians have an HIV prevalence rate of 19.8%, according to the Country Representative of UN AIDS, Madam Miriam Chipimo.
In all of these cases of violence being meted out against sexual minorities who are Liberian citizens—even if they weren’t—the Liberian government continues to remain mum, feigning that the rights of these Liberians don’t matter, even though it is pertinent.
Following the violence which rocked Sinkor last November, there was no arrest made by the Liberia National Police on perpetrators, neither was any investigation conducted to bring perpetrators of these heinous human rights violations to justice.
In an interview in December 2019, President Weah repeatedly hammered that his government is one that respects human rights. On the contrary, it appears to be all talk—nothing more, nothing less—to appease Liberia’s western bilateral partners who, on the front burner of its dealings, place a premium on the respect of basic human rights, including LGBT rights.
No matter how much it is ignored and no matter how much the cries of the violations of the rights of sexual minorities remain deafening to the ears of the Liberian government, the fact remains that gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex have been in existence of humanity from the beginning of time.
And they will be till the end of time. It behooves the government to go further than its nonchalant stance in the protection of their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the county signed in 1948.
It’s a responsibility which the country and the government of President Weah cannot shirk therefrom.
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