BY MELANIE NATHAN, September 23, 2022.
This week the Zambian Government issued a statement on social media and at other outlets threatening LGBTQI+ Zambians as well as any LGBTQI person in the country. The Government calls upon ALL PEOPLE of Zambia to "fight" LGBTQI people: "This is not a fight for Government alone but for all citizens. "
African Human Rights Coalition condemns the Zambian Government flagrant disregard for basic human rights and the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, especially in the light of the current Government threat of a crackdown against LGBTQI people in Zambia:
This persecution is evidenced by criminalizing laws that are unconstitutional, given that they curb basic freedoms and promote inequality and violence. These criminal laws are an abusive tool used for oppression, and they give license to state and non-state actors to discriminate and exact violent retribution against LGBTQI people. African Human Rights Coalition believes the current anti-gay statement publicized broadly, to include through social media, is designed by the Government to be a dog whistle, in essence promoting the rounding up and violation of the rights of the Zambian LGBTQI minority. We are very concerned about this statement and call for its condemnation.
We also call on the Zambian Government to enter into conversation with Human Rights NGO's and sexuality experts, for a better understanding of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. If indeed Zambia touts itself as a Christian Nation, as the statement notes, surely the most basic of Christian tenets, which conflict with evangelical extremist fundamentalism, should be adhered to. It is unfortunate that the Government chooses to follow the Colonizer Penal Codes and the few chosen elements that exact an extremist interpretation of scripture. (MELANIE NATHAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR)
The Statement, issued by the MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND MEDIA AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON reads as follows: STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND MEDIA AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON HON. CHUSHI KASANDA, MP, ON LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) IN ZAMBIA
The Government wishes to reaffirm that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) practice is illegal in Zambia.
The law is clear on this matter:
• Section 155 of the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia criminalises sex between men;
• Section 156 of the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia criminalises any attempt to commit ‘unnatural offences’ prohibited under Section 155;
• Section 158 of the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia criminalises acts of ‘gross indecency’ both between men and between women.
Government, therefore, warns that anyone found practicing or promoting any of the said acts is liable to prosecution in the Courts of Law.
Further, Government wishes to restate its position on the need for citizens to uphold the moral values and principles of our society in line with the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation.
The values and principles define who we are and the unique traits that bind us together as a nation.
Our values should, therefore, never be sacrificed at any cost.
Government also wishes to dismiss allegations by some sections of our society that it supports homosexuality. The accusations are unfair and unfounded. Government has been consistent, before and now, in office, that it does not support LGBT. Police and other law enforcement agencies remain active and engaged in pursuing cases of LGBT whenever and wherever they are reported.
I wish to stress that this Government has a duty to promote, protect and defend the interest of the Zambian people.
Government also wishes to call upon parents, the church, the traditional leadership, Non-Governmental Organisations and other stakeholders to join hands in scaling up the fight against LGBT.
This is not a fight for Government alone but for all citizens.
Hon. Chushi Kasanda, MP MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND MEDIA AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON 20th September, 2022
PIC: HON. CHUSHI KASANDA, MP,
It is this very persecution that forces Zambians to flee the country in fear of their lives. It also causes very serious problems for any LGBTQI+ migrant, asylum seeker or refugee who was forced to cross over into Zambia to seek protection through UNHCR and places anyone working in capacity of Protection or as a human rights defender in great danger. It also forces parents, teachers and churches to take action against gays.
AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION notes that the American Government may deny visas under THE GLOBAL RESPECT ACT of 2022. This denial of US Visas under American law could impact Government, Cabinet and officials who support what American perceive as hateful persecution against LGBTI people.