Last edited: February 13, 2005

Namibian Leader Attacks Gays Again / Network, April 3, 2001

By Matt Alsdorf

SUMMARY: Namibia’s president wants local leaders to cooperate with his plan to rid the country of gays and lesbians, who he believes shouldn’t be allowed to "do their bad things" in the country.

Namibian President Sam Nujoma has called on regional leaders to identify and arrest gays and lesbians in their communities.

The Namibian, a national newspaper, reports that in an address delivered April 1, Nujoma elaborated on the call he made two weeks earlier for gays and lesbians to be arrested, imprisoned, and deported.

"Traditional leaders, governors, see to it that there are no criminals, gays and lesbians in your villages and regions," The Namibian quoted Nujoma as saying. "We ... have not fought for an independent Namibia that gives rights to botsotsos [criminals], gays and lesbians to do their bad things here."

Amnesty International condemned Nujoma’s statements, saying that it would consider gays and lesbians imprisoned because of their sexuality to be "prisoners of conscience." The organization asserted that the government was obligated to "fully protect the rights of all its people, including gays and lesbians"

The Namibian Constitution prohibits discrimination, but does not specifically mention sexual orientation.

Nujoma also reportedly said during his speech that Namibians should not sleep with foreigners. He has previously attributed homosexuality and a rising HIV infection rate to foreign influences.

Namibian leaders have a history of condemning gays and lesbians. In 1996, Nujoma called for homosexuals to be "condemned and rejected in our society." And last year, Namibia’s Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo called on his countryment to "eliminate [gays and lesbians] from the face of Namibia."

No arrests have yet been reported.

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