Claim: Weah’s Government Endorses Gay Rights at Democracy Summit
Source: The Independent Probe Newspaper
Verdict: The claim Liberia signed to protect one’s Sexual Orientation right (Gay right) is UNVERIFIED.
Full text: Liberia has been against same-sex marriage since it became a country.
The Penal Law of Liberia, dated as far back as 1976, prohibited same-sex. The law criminalizes acts of ‘sodomy,’ broadly defined. This provision carries a maximum penalty of one-year imprisonment. Both men and women are criminalized under this law.
Also, in November of 2018, a bill was introduced to amend the Penal Code to criminalize ‘same-sex practices.’ It was not discussed before the legislature went on recess in December.
In 2012, A bill that would further criminalize ‘homosexual behavior’ was passed by the Liberian Senate, although former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vetoed the instrument.
One of the famous slogans Liberians know is “Liberia was founded on a Christian principle,” a belief they have to the point that some Liberians see the nation drafting from its “ Christian” national principles. Efforts were made by a Church group under the banner of Liberia Restoration to Christian Heritage Committee (LRCHC) on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, petitioned the Liberian Legislature to Christianize Liberia from its current secular state.
The group solicited over 700,000 signatures from across the country to amend specific provisions of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia to give the Christian religion an exclusive religious right.
In the face of all these requests from the citizens of Liberia through their lawmakers, international partners who protect the rights of all humans have, on the other hand, been in the advocacy to ensure the sexual orientation rights of those who believe in the act of same-sex are respected.
Recently, a delegation from Liberia headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah attended a Democracy Summit in Lusaka, Zambia.
They had discussions on many things, including democracy.
At the end of their discussion, a communique was signed by the 76 countries that attended the Summit in Lusaka.
The communique, with many counts, highlighted rights to freedom of democracy, combating authoritarian trends, civil and political rights, and the progressive realization of economic, social, and cultural rights.
Count eight of the document was evident when it spoke to protecting the sexual orientation of all persons.
Count eight states, “To promote respect for human rights and equality for all individuals and combat all forms of discrimination and exclusion on any grounds, consistent with international human rights law, including multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion or belief, national or social origin, property, birth, indigeneity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, pregnancy, political opinion, class, genetic information, or age, and promote inclusion and the full and equal participation of all individuals in marginalized or vulnerable situations, including internally displaced persons.”
A newspaper, The Independent Probe Liberia, published this information on its website. At the same time, it was also found here and here, “ Breaking News: Weah’s CDC Government Signed Gay Right.
The “sycophantic” and “hypocritical” supporters and propagandists of Weah’s CDC government should please go tell the Liberian peepo dah [people that] Weah government approved for men them to be having sex wif deh boy chayren and women dem to be having sex wif deh geh chayren[ sex with the boys children and women them to be having sex with girls children].
Instead of focusing on the issues of development and the laws regarding pedophilia, Rape, sexual abuse, gender violence, etc., people want to use Obed Obed lies to label a man who has been very clear that he is not gay, has been married for 41 years, and has children & grandchildren”.
To verify the claim, TSM sent two WhatsApp messages [April 3 and 4, 2023] to Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, requesting a clear understanding of whether the Liberia delegation signed any document that commits Liberia to gay rights.
Although the Ministry saw the two messages but has not replied.
If we do get comments from them, this article will be updated.
Also, a media executive, Malcolm W. Joseph, who attended the conference, was contacted on April 3, 2023, requesting similar clarity. He, too, is yet to reply to the inquiry made by TSM.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs, and Tourism, Legdgerhood Julius Rennie, on April 4, 2023, appeared on State Radio, LBS, and said the information was fake and misleading, despite Liberia ever signing the said document.
The Liberian Minister said the discussion held at the Summit was about democracy, and nothing about Gay rights was discussed as was claimed by the newspaper.
All research and requests to get a document copy did not materialize.
Conclusion: With the information gathered thus far from the Independent Probe Newspaper’s publication and the refusal of Minister Kermaya and others to speak to the claim coupled with a statement from the Minister of Information, we can only say the claim is unverified.