MALAWI: Human rights:
Banda to decriminalise homosexuality

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MALAWI - Malawi’s president, Joyce Banda shocked many in her country when she announced her government’s intention to decriminalise homosexuality.
 
The move is in stark contrast to the approach of her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who openly condemned homosexuality. In a region in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights have often been rejected in the name of traditional values, Banda’s stance has attracted attention and criticism. Some in Malawi and in the region see her move as bowing to international pressure, especially after British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to suspend direct aid to repressive governments, particularly countries that had laws, policies, and practices that subjected LGBT communities to discrimination and abuse. While it is not clear how Banda will achieve this, amending LGBT rights is an indication of her determination to lead Malawi back onto the path of being a forward-looking democracy and a state that respects universal human rights. (END/RADIO BULLETIN EDITOR/2012)

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