Saturday, March 31, 2012
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said that she supports a law that can put homosexuals in prison for a year
Liberia is located in West Africa and bordered by Sierra Leone and Guinea. She made her initial remarks during a joint interview with former British prime minster Tony Blair, who was noticeably uncomfortable. Blair has supported LGBT issues while in office as he promoted laws that recognized civil partnerships. Sirleaf, 73, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in campaigning for women’s rights. In 2006, she became Africa’s first female president and was reelected in 2011. In addition to the current law, which says voluntary sodomy is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in prison, there are two proposed legislations that could give gay Liberians an even harsher punishment. One of the anti-gay laws, which was created by the ex-wife of the former president Charles Taylor, could make same-sex marriage a crime and could sentence gay Liberians up to 10 years in jail. Liberia is one of the many countries in Africa that strongly persecutes its LGBT community. In February 2012, Uganda’s parliament reintroduced a bill that would give the death penalty to gays who are caught having consensual sex. Cameroon, a country in west Central Africa that is bordered by Nigeria and Chad, has also received criticism for its treatment of gays.