Harare — Ethiopian security personnel are repressing what it calls LGBTIQ+ sexual conduct at hotels, pubs, and restaurants in the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa, according to Reuters.
In recent years, a number of African nations that criminalise the queer community have proposed harsher legislation and punishments, most recently in Ghana and Uganda, driven by funding and support from U.S.-based evangelical movements.
According to rights organisations, the LGBTIQ+ community in Ethiopia remains very much hidden because its members experience severe discrimination and fear violence and rejection if their identities are known.
After receiving tip-offs from the public, the government agency responsible for Addis Ababa’s peace and security said it was taking action “against institutions where homosexual acts are carried out” and had previously conducted a guest house raid.
“Addis Ababa city peace and security administration office in cooperation with Addis Ababa police has started taking action on institutions suspected of committing homosexual acts in our city,” Addis Ababa City Communication posted on their Facebook page.
“If there is any compassion on entertainment service institutions that commit and carry out this disgusting act that is hated by both men and God, it has stated that they will continue to take action in cooperation with the police,” the city administration said.
Although it is against the law for members of the LGBTIQ+ to have sex in Ethiopia, there have been no recent reports of anyone being found guilty of consenting to same-sex relationships.
Earlier this week, the House of Guramayle, an organisation that advocates for the LGBTIQ+ community, issued a statement condemning the recent increase in attacks on people in Ethiopia because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
“House of Guramayle condemns the recent escalation in attacks on individuals in Ethiopia based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. In the last two weeks alone, House of Guramayle and LGBTQIA+ activists have documented over a dozen TikTok videos displaying pictures of people who may or may not identify as LGBTQIA+, including those who live in Ethiopia. Violence against those individuals … is being openly encouraged. As a result, individuals suspected of belonging to the LBGTQIA+ community are being physically attacked in Ethiopia.”
The organisation called for support from the international community.