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Germany weighs in on gay issue

German Ambassador to Malawi, Peter Woeste, has expressed his disappointment with the Malawi government and the nation as a whole, following the arrest of suspected gay men in Lilongwe, a few days ago.

Germany’s reaction follows sentiments made by the US Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, the UK High Commission to Malawi and the Human Rights Watch.

In a statement released Thursday, Woeste questioned the way Malawi is branded as a ‘God fearing’ nation, saying the comments and reactions towards the incident do not match that of a ‘God fearing’ nation.

“But I am deeply disturbed by ill-mannered reactions I am reading on the social media, especially people who defend LGBTI [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans gender and Inter sex] rights are confronted with violent and disrespectful verbal abuse.

“Are those the same fellow brothers and sisters who are normally very vociferous about the idea of a “Christian Nation”? Are those the same people who ask for a prayer at the beginning of every meeting?” queried the German Envoy.

Woeste further said his government is committed and passionate about human rights, arguing that LGBTI are also human rights.

“ I welcome the government’s policy, not to arrest, detain, charge or pursue people engaged in consensual same-sex activity. I trust that this policy continues to be implemented by all relevant authorities. That puts Malawi in line with the modern nations of the world,” reads the statement.

Meanwhile, Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) have also faulted government and the police for breaching a moratorium on people who engage in consensual same sex activities.

“Government has received money from the Global Fund to implement HIV-related activities to target gay people in Malawi. So we are worried how we are going to implement those programmes and how we are going to reach gay people if we start arresting them,” said CHRR Executive Director Timothy Mtambo.

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