Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | December 18, 2015
Candidate for the Democratic U.S. Presidential nomination, former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has outlined a comprehensive LGBT policy plan for domestic and global LGBT issues. While we at African Human Rights Coalition are grateful to Secretary Clinton for her recognition of the plight of LGBT people around the globe and her support of LGBT global rights, we do not believe that this part of her plan goes far enough.
Approximately 65% of African countries criminalize gay people with harsh anti-homosexuality punitive measures, some including life in prison or the death sentence. Sweeping reform is much needed to accommodate the special category of LGBTI people escaping persecution and criminalization. Humanitarian funding is sorely lacking. Most funding goes to capacity building and advocacy programs, but very little to those who suffer the backlashes and exposure such advocacy brings.
At this time thousands of African LGBT people are either in hiding, without employment, or on the street without safe shelter, many seeking exile options due to assaults, threats, blackmail, torture, rape and imminent arrests resulting from criminalization. Most African LGBTI people do not qualify for visas abroad and do not have the financial ability to travel. They have no choice but to cross over into another African country, equally abusive, to seek refugee status and become mandated by UNHCR for resettlement.