Nobel Prize Winner Backs Anti-Gay Laws

No, it’s not Barack Obama this time, but Liberian President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who sat down with former war puppet Tony
Blair for a wide-ranging
on the aims of Blair’s post-post-colonial
Africa Governance Initiative:

The Nobel peace prize winner and president
of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has defended a law
that criminalises homosexual acts, saying: “We like ourselves just
the way we are.”

In a joint interview with Tony Blair, who was left looking
visibly uncomfortable by her remarks, Sirleaf told the Guardian:
“We’ve got certain traditional values in our society that we would
like to preserve.”

Liberian legislation classes “voluntary sodomy” as a
misdemeanour punishable by up to one year in prison, but two new
bills have been proposed that would target homosexuality with much
tougher sentences.

Blair, on a visit to Liberia in his capacity as the founder of
the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), a charity
that aims to strengthen African governments, refused to comment on
Sirleaf’s remarks.

When asked whether good governance and human
rights went hand in hand, the British former prime minister
said: “I’m not giving you an answer on it.”

“One of the advantages of doing what I do now is I can choose
the issues I get into and the issues I don’t. For us, the
priorities are around power, roads, jobs delivery,” he said.

With Sirleaf sitting to his left, Blair refused to give any
advice on gay rights reforms. He let out a stifled chuckle after
Sirleaf interrupted him to make it clear that Blair and his staff
were only allowed to do what she said they could. “AGI Liberia has
specific terms of reference…that’s all we require of them,” she
said, crossing her arms and leaning back.

Yet again, Brave Sir
 finds himself unfairly suffering the blowback of
an American’s cowboy antics, this time those of U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton, whose boss won the Noble Prize for

The gay rights debate erupted in Liberia after Clinton announced
in December that America’s foreign aid budget would promote
the protection of gay rights, prompting speculation that funds
would be tied to rights records.

The announcement brought unprecedented attention to
homosexuality in a country where until recently gay people and

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One Response to Nobel Prize Winner Backs Anti-Gay Laws

  1. curtrice says:

    It’s disappointing that Sirleaf Johnson would take this position, and it’s certainly not got anything to do with peace. She has some thinking to do, not least of all because of her status as a Peace Prize Laureate, but the most important thing at this point is probably not her but the younger generation.

    I was against last year’s Peace Prize award, but not against Johnson Sirleaf. Instead, I thought the award diminished the contributions of women. If you’re interested, have a look at “The Nobel Peace Prize’s problem with women” at

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