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Ethiopia to Consider Making Same-Sex Relations a Non-Pardonable Crime

Ethiopian lawmakers are set to vote on a law that would list same-sex relations and homosexuality as a non-pardonable offense.

Ethiopia’s Pardon and Amnesty law, which is expected to reach parliament next week, lists homosexuality alongside corruption, human-trafficking, smuggling, rape and terrorism as non-pardonable crimes by the president.

Same-sex consensual activity is already illegal in Ethiopia with punishments of up to 15 years for convicted offenders. Anyone found guilty of transmitting HIV/AIDS through same-sex sexual conduct is liable to serving up to 25 years in prison.

“There hasn’t been any positive change [in Ethiopia] on the social attitude toward homosexuality,” says one Ethiopian activist who has not revealed their identity. “If anything, what has become more visible is the misinformation of homophobic activists circulating on the local media, which has intensified the gay bashing in a scale never seen before.”

This move, to further criminalize people who engage in same-sex conduct, is a growing trend among certain African nations. If this law passes, Ethiopia would join the likes of Uganda and Nigeria—both of which recently passed horrific anti-LGBT laws in the last few months—in countries that are aggressively pursuing agendas to strip LGBT people of their basic human rights.

The Council of Ministers approved the proposed bill and it is expected to pass with majority support in the Ethiopian Parliament next week.

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