Delegates reject homosexual clause

Gay will be Gay
A CONTROVERSIAL provision almost derailed the adoption of the Addis Ababa Declaration at the close of the African Regional Conference on Population and Development last Friday.

In a clear reflection of the position of most African countries on homosexuality, the majority delegates shot down a clause that would seek to promote gay and lesbian rights.
The delegates argued against the clause which read ‘without distinction of any kind’ in the declaration calling on African governments to scale up reproductive health and the rights of its citizens.
They argued that since they were representing the sovereign interests of their countries, they would not adopt a declaration which covertly promotes homosexual rights which are in conflict with their countries’ cultural values.
The concern of the majority delegates was that the clause was promoting homosexual rights in a subtle way.
“It must be put on record that Chad is not party to this declaration. It is a subtle way of introducing something which may catch some countries unawares,” a Chadian delegate said.
Another delegate from Congo-Brazzaville argued against adopting the declaration with the controversial clause, holding that in future, some countries may be asked to adopt their laws to ‘the spirit of this declaration.’
Other delegates argued that there were undertones in the clause which could be promoting homosexual rights.
“This clause is elastic. Basically what we are talking about is homosexuality and lesbianism,” argued a delegate from Eritrea.
“We have been hiding and this is what is contentious,” he said.
A delegate from the Comoros called for thorough examination and review of the contentious clause as it could be promoting values that were against the interests of some countries.