House of Guramayle | a safe space for the Ethiopian LGBTIQ+ community

Co-Founder speaks at Human Rights Council

Blog  |  30.09.19

Our Co-Founder Faris Cuchi was invited to speak at the Universal Periodic Review Report Consideration for Ethiopia, held as part of the 42nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. 

This was a monumental occasion for overcoming erasure and voicing the pain of Ethiopia’s LGBTIQ+ community directly to a government representative. 

You can view the recording of the session below and on UN Web TV (watch from Chapter 16: 23min20sec). The full statement can be read below, it was delivered for Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland, on behalf of the Ethiopian LGBT community.     

“This statement is also made on behalf of the Ethiopian LGBT community. We thank the States of Australia, Iceland, Mexico and Spain for the 5 recommendations and Spain and United Sates of America for the advanced questions made to the Ethiopian government addressing the discrimination, and ill-treatment of Sexual and Gender Minorities in Ethiopia.

This past year and a half, Ethiopia has seen dramatic political and economic reforms. Although the country has recently made commendable strides in the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, LGBT persons continue to live in fear of violence and danger of prosecution.

The LGBT community is systematically excluded from national polices and legislations. We deplore the prohibition of consensual same-sex activity under the 2005 Criminal Code and hope that homosexuality will be decriminalized.

We call for ensuring that the LGBT community be able access to health services, as it remains to be a major barrier affecting the quality of life for LGBT persons in Ethiopia. It is vital to amend the Ethiopian National Road Map for HIV Prevention and other national health policies to include LGBT individuals as “key populations”; while also raising awareness to prevent the stigmatization of LGBT individuals by health professionals. The government should also uphold its commitment to delivering Universal Health Coverage by providing reproductive and sexual health services the LGBT community can safely use.

Furthermore, in light of the current anti-LGBT sentiments rampant in the country, the government should take active steps to set up mechanisms to combat the societal stigma, hate speech and slander directed towards the already marginalized group.

We urge the Ethiopian Government to take in to account the recommendations made during the 33rd Universal Periodic Review session and commit to recognize, respect and protect human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as equal citizens.”

Image credit: Ludovic Courtès (link to license)

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