Africa's Gays Say They're 'Under Siege'

Published: February 2, 2011

International human rights groups are reporting increases in hate crimes against gays and lesbians across Africa.  All over the continent, they say, homosexuals are being harassed and ridiculed, assaulted and arrested, tortured, jailed and murdered – and on an unprecedented scale.

“We have seen an upsurge of violence, of discrimination.…  You’ve got guys in Cameroon being arrested; you’ve got guys in Nigeria being killed for being gay.  It’s happening all over Africa,” says Denis Nzioka, one of East Africa’s most prominent gay rights activists.  “We’re under siege,” he adds in his Nairobi office.

The action against African homosexuals, NGOs say, is happening at a time when the continent’s gays and lesbians are asserting themselves like never before, becoming more vocal  and more visible in their demands for what they consider to be basic human rights.

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