The workshop, dealt with the social ‘evils’ and ‘disastrous’ effects of homosexuality in Ethiopia, and was led by United for Life Ethiopia, a Western Evangelical organization with local representation.
Government officials, religious leaders, leading heath professionals, charities and members of the public attended the event at the Bethel Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa, last week.
In the workshop police alleged ‘homosexual family members and neighbors’ have sexually abused 117 boys last year.
Participants agreed that the Western gay motto ‘born this way’ is unacceptable to Ethiopia, stating that not only has homosexuality nothing to do with nature, but the ‘condition’ runs against it.
A representative, from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality (EICAH) organization, underlined to workshop participants that gayness is not natural and has nothing to do with human rights, but ‘a result of a result of inappropriate upbringing, identity crisis and moral decay.
‘So we have to work hard to teach our children the bible and ethics and also protect our nation from the dirty western imposed culture of homosexuality.’
Sultan Muhe, chair of Bright Children Voluntary Association (BCVA) testified that as a child he was gang-raped, an experience that ‘made him’ gay as well as a sex worker.
Muhe also stated that he was now cured (ex-gay) and now campaigns for others to be ‘healed’, stating: ‘Homosexuality should be discouraged by whatever means and the government should do whatever it takes to stop it.’
At the conclusion of the workshop, the EICAH representative stated that the council is ‘making progress’ in convincing the government to be stricter on homosexuality and introduce the death penalty to punish ‘such acts’.
The ECIAH representative added that prospects for capital punishment being legislated against gays ‘seems promising’.
The United for Life Ethiopia (ULE), led by Dr Seyoum Antonios, sponsored the event as well as ECIAH.
ULE is a Western Evangelical organization that receives funding in the UK and US and offers to ‘cure’ gayness as well as campaigning aggressively against LGBT people in the country.
BCVA is reportedly sponsored by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and the UNAIDS.
Mercy (name changed), director of Rainbow Ethiopia, a health and support group for LGBT people, told GSN: ‘The trend of homophobia and hate crimes is increasing in Ethiopia because these organizations are creating a moral panic and feeding the public with false information and wild allegations.
‘They scare the public that homosexuals are raping children and then “recruit” them into homosexuality, which is “promoted” and “spreading” throughout the country.
‘These groups even present some of the LGBTI members of the community as a mercenaries, trained and sponsored by the West to “promote homosexuality”.
‘Families, police, neighbors the community in large are turning more and more hostile; we are living in fear and LGBT community members are increasingly desperate to flee Ethiopia.
‘They put their lives at risk by using human traffickers through dangerous routes such as crossing the Sahara desert in an attempt to get to Europe through Libya or through Egypt to Israel, often killed in the attempt to do so.’
Mercy called upon human rights organizations and international community to do everything in their power ‘to cut the Western funding to these organizations, and outlaw them. However aid to Ethiopia and other organizations should continue’.