Renowned Malawian rights activists Gift Trapence and the Reverend MacDonald Sembereka on Wednesday attended a round-table discussion on the status and advancement of human rights of the sexual minorities in Africa at the White House in the United States of America.
The round-table talks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons was chaired by Dr. Reuben Brigety, deputy assistant secretary of State for African Affairs and the invitation was extended to the Malawian activists by the Council for Global Equality.
Apart from US government officials, also in attendance were representatives of the Africa Bureau, the human rights bureau, Usaid and Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Trapence said in an interview on Thursday the meeting provided a forum for an open conversation on how the US government could improve its support for sexual minority issues and activists as part of US human rights policy abroad.
â€œThis was an opportunity to share with the officials most pressing human rights issues and perspectives from different countries,â€ said Trapence.
He said the meeting also discussed the issue of technical assistance, specifically on HIV and Aids work through the US Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), Usaid and US democracy and human rights programmes.
President Joyce Banda has taken a different approach to that of her predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, as she has allowed Malawians to decide on the way forward on the issue of respect for sexual minority rights that include same sex marriages.