Liberia: The National AIDS Commission of Liberia has condemned recent social media homophobic attacks directed at individuals perceived to be living with HIV and key population members in Liberia.
Recently, the Commission has been alerted about series of publications by two Facebook pages named, Liberian Geez Kitchen 246 and Michelle Denzel Fries group” in which they have been posting images of individuals and branding them as HIV positives, Gays, Lesbians, Transgender and sex workers in Liberia.
In a press release issued in Monrovia, the AIDS Commission said it sees such unwarranted publication as a threat and deepening stigma and discrimination against the lives of these individuals, which undermines the national HIV response.
The Commission said it is regrettable that at this critical time where the country is striving to end all forms of stigma and discrimination in ending AIDS by 2030, people with different intents could choose to willfully vilify others.
According to the Commission, due to the severity of such unthinkable publication which has the ability to scare people away from seeking HIV services, it will seek assistance from relevant security constitutions and partners to identify those responsible to face the law.
The Commission has assured those affected that it is fully prepared to work with them in seeking for the prosecution of those involved whenever they are identified, and urged them not to be deterred.
The Commission as an oversight institution for the country’s HIV response, it is obligated to respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which allows people to enjoy their foundational human rights void of societal stereotyped hate and discriminating that have the propensity to undermine public health interventions.
It can be recalled that 17 human rights organizations in Liberia under the banner, “LIPRIDE Coalition wrote the National AIDS Commission and relevant partners in Liberia, bringing to their attention increased threats being directed at young people based on perceived or real sexual orientation by two social media pages, Liberian Geez Kitchen 246 and Michelle Denzel Fries group
In the letter LIPRIDE said: “We see this action as a serious threat and deepening stigma and discrimination against the lives of LGBTI members including those working for human rights protection in the country. As we speak, some of these young people are being rejected and thrown out by their parents due to these social media posts”.
LIPRIDE called on NAC and partners including the Ministry of Justice and Independent National Commission on Human rights to ensure the protection of all human rights under the Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
“In this light, we are kindly seeking your support to engage and employ every mean possible such engaging the country’s intelligence system (security sector) to identify individuals and institutions behind this deliberate and life threatening homophobic act,” LIPRIDE said.
LIPRIDE told the partners that “though the crisis may not be dominating the media waves right now, people exposed on the social media deserve respect and protection. We cannot shy away while they continue to suffer threats on a daily basis because of their sexuality”.