German Ambassador Peter Woeste has described as “ill-mannered reactions” on the social media, especially how people who defend Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights are confronted with violent and disrespectful verbal abuse.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Woeste said he was following with great concern the recent discussion on the rights of sexual minorities sparked by the arrest inLilongwe last week of two alleged homosexuals—Cuthbert Kulemeka (19) and Kelvin Gonani (39).
He said reading on the social media, he wondered if the people making the confrontations were the same fellow brothers and sisters who are normally very vociferous about the idea of a “Christian nation”.
Said Woeste: “Are those the same people who ask for a prayer at the beginning of every meeting? Not just because there are only a few days left until we celebrate Christmas, I hope we will return to a discussion of mutual respect.”
Woeste said Germany is passionately committed to human rights and that LGBT rights are human rights and his country shares with Malawi the utter conviction of their universality.
His reaction follows a call by United States of America (USA) Ambassador Virginia Palmer on the Malawi government to release the two suspected gays.
Palmer made her plea through the US Embassy Facebook page and her post attracted over 700 comments as of Wednesday evening. Many of the comments condemned her appeal, with some using offensive language.
Without directly saying it, Woeste also asked Malawi to drop the charges of sodomy levelled against the two suspects, the same request Malawi has received from Human Rights Watch (HRW) and USA.
He said: “I welcome the government’s policy, not to arrest, detain, charge or pursue people engaged in consensual same-sex activity. I trust that this policy continues to be implemented by all relevant authorities. That puts Malawi in line with the modern nations of the world.”
Malawi has come under fire from donors and gay rights civil society organisations (CSOs) for its failure to adhere to international commitments on human rights by arresting the two.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu on Wednesday told The Nation Malawi is committed to respecting the international conventions it signed and said the reported arrest is being investigated. n