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Posts Tagged ‘Malawi’

Irish Aid, Malawi and Gay Rights

January 5, 2010 3 comments

In 2007 Irish Aid—the international aid branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs—establish bilateral aid programmes with Malawi. This action was a follow-up to the commitment in the White Paper on Irish Aid to establish more partner countries in the African continent. At the moment, the programmes are conducted by means of the funding of Irish NGOs working in Malawi. Slightly out-of-date information on the Malawi programme is available here. Of course, Irish Aid has important agreements with a number of countries in Africa and carries out very valuable work in partnership with NGOs and governmental agencies, but reading this news story this morning brought Malawi to mind.

The story concerns a same-sex couple that was arrested following the first public (and, of course, symbolic as opposed to legally binding) same-sex wedding in the country. Today they were refused bail while the police investigation proceeded. If they are tried and prosecuted for homosexuality and sodomy—both of which are offences in Malawi—the couple could be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail. Notwithstanding the fact that homosexuality is a crime in Malawi, it is perhaps a little surprising to see this action being progressed by the police and courts as the government of Malawi, as part of its attempts to tackle HIV/AIDs in the country, has at times encouraged gay people to come out. Read more…