The extent of the blackmail and extortion gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Africa face has been highlighted in a comprehensive report from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, illustrates how LGBT Africans are made doubly vulnerable by the criminalisation of homosexuality and the often-violent stigmatisation they face if their sexuality is revealed. Based on research from 2007 to now, it features articles and research by leading African activists and academics on the prevalence, severity and impact of human rights violations on LGBT people in Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. "The tragic reality is that blackmail and extortion are part of the daily lives of many LGBT Africans who are isolated and made vulnerable by homophobic laws and social stigma," says IGLHRC's Executive Director, Cary Alan Johnson. "The responsibility clearly lies with governments to address these crimes and the underlying social and legal vulnerability of LGBT people." The report's authors outline the isolation, humiliation and manipulation to which LGBT people are subjected by blackmailers and extortionists and describe the threats of exposure, theft, assault, and rape, that can damage and even destroy the lives of victims. IGLHRC is urging the countries to take concrete steps to reduce the incidence of these crimes by decriminalising same-sex sexual activity, educating officials and communities about blackmail laws, and ensuring that all people are able to access judicial mechanisms without prejudice.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Thursday, 17th February 2011 - 1:14pm
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