Government takes a firm stand against homophobia

South African government has spoken against all forms of violence directed towards gays and lesbians.

Acting Cabinet Spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement issued by government’s Communication and Information, government condemns in the strongest terms possible all forms of crimes perpetrated against Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Inter-sex (LGBTI) people in the country.

Williams was responding to a recent media report involving gay refugees that were allegedly assaulted in Cape Town.

“Every citizen has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” Williams said in the statement.

She also urged communities to respect individuals’ right to life and respect everyone’s dignity.

“During this Freedom Month (April), let us work together to preserve and promote human dignity and the rights of other."

“Working together we do more to build a safe and socially cohesive society”, she said.

Albert Kafuka from Democratic Republic of Congo and Junior Mayembe are the two refugees who allege that they were recently assaulted because of being gay.

Kafuka alleges that he was assaulted by his landlay’s nephew.

He has laid a charge with the Cape Town police after the alleged incident.

Meanwhile a non-government organisation called People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) says its dealing with dozens of cases of homophobic attacks against refugees.

“The violence happens on a day to day level, it happens at home, it happens on the street, at the bus stop.

“So the violence is a sort of blanket issues and then it becomes heightened when you are desperate for accommodation and will do whatever it takes to get a roof over your head,” said Andrew Brown of Passop.

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