Namibians March to Defend Gay, Other Minority Rights
Reuters, April 28, 2001
WINDHOEKHundreds of Namibians marched through
their capital on Saturday in protest against President Sam Nujumas verbal
attacks on gays and lesbians.
Speaker after speaker urged President Sam Nujomas government to stop
threatening the rights of minorities. Twenty civil groups took part in the
protest, which was organized by the Southern African Human Rights NGO Network
"The independence of the judiciary and the media is under threat,
peoples rights are threatened with the go-ahead being given by the head of
state," SAHRINGONs Pauline Dembers said.
"...its up to us to rescue the situation."
Nujoma has frequently described gays and lesbians as "unnatural"
and threatened to arrest and deport them.
He has also attacked white Namibians, accusing them of not having the
countrys interests at heart.
"We thought 11 years after independence we would be marching for
development of our country. But today we are marching for our survival,"
said Clement Daniels, Director of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC).
Head of Sister Namibia, a womens organization defending the rights of
lesbians, said it was unfortunate that Namibias leaders were using sexual
orientation to divide the country.
"Equality cannot be achieved in Namibia without sexual rights being
respected," she said.
Last week the Namibian government denied that there was any persecution of
minorities in the country.
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