By Jean Marc Yao
(Aussi publié en français)
At the initiative of the Ivorian League for Human Rights (LIDHO), several Ivorian civil society organizations came together on June 26 at the U.S. Embassy in Ivory Coast for a breakfast debate on the theme: “Ivorian Civil Society and Gay Rights in Côte d’Ivoire.”
The gathering came five months after a series of attacks in January by an anti-gay mob that shut down the headquarters of the LGBT-friendly anti-AIDS group Alternative CI.
The latest meeting began with a presentation by LIDHO on “Minority Rights in Africa: The Case of Those Homosexuals.” The presentation noted that homosexuals are a minority, outnumbered, in a non-dominant position in the Ivorian population, and as such are entitled to special protection.
All of the human rights defenders present at the luncheon meeting agreed that the human rights of homosexuals should be protected and respected as they are persons like everyone else. This consultation produced a consensus; with this resolution the meeting ended.
In addition to LIDHO, four non-government organizations defending human rights attended the breakfast meeting together with the Alliance of Ivorian Civil Society (CSCI), and the National Commission of Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire (CNDHCI). The cultural attaché of the U.S. Embassy hosted the meeting.
Jean Marc Yao, based in Abijan in Ivory Coast, specializes in LGBT issues at LIDHO and is human rights consultant for Alternative Côte d’Ivoire. He was personally involved in this event as the representative of LIDHO.