Malawi must respect same-sex rights or lose US aid

Malawi risks losing the United States aid money if it will continue to be homophobic nation following an announcement by the Obama administration that it will consider how countries treat gays, lesbians when making foreign aid decisions.

The White House has issued a presidential memorandum announcing the policy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up the announcement at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama directed US agencies, including the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, to use foreign aid to assist gays and lesbians who are facing human rights violations. And he ordered US agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.

Lesbian kiss.

Gay rights

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights,” Obama said in a statement.

Secretary of State Clinton told an audience of diplomats in Geneva that “gay rights are human rights”.

She said, according to news agencies: “Gay people are born into, and belong to, every society in the world.”

“They are all ages, all races, all faiths. They are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes.

“Being gay is not a Western invention,” she said. “It is a human reality.”

Malawi in denial

UK government had also announced it will redirect aid money away from government who persecute homosexuals.

The UK policy was roundly denounce by Malawi and other Commonwealth countries.

President Bingu wa Mutharika defends Malawi laws for the criminalisation of sexual orientation when he adopted Zimbabwean President  Robert Mugabe’s lingo, describing gays as worse than dogs.

He has the backing of Malawi Counci of Churches , a grouping of 24 protestant churches, as it argues that while Malawi needed aid, it was against donor countries calling for the legalisation of same sex marriages as the practice was a contradiction with the teachings of God, Malawi’s rich traditions and culture and a threat to the family unit.

In 2009, Malawi police arrested a couple, Steven Monjeza, 27, and 21-year-old Tiwonge Chimbalanga, after they got engaged in a traditional ceremony two years ago. They were tried and found guilty in a trial viewed as a test case for gay rights in the southern African country.

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