Ethiopia cracks down on gay sex in hotels, other venues

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Security forces in Ethiopia are cracking down on hotels, bars and restaurants in the capital Addis Ababa where gay sexual activity is alleged to take place, the city administration said on Thursday.

Several African countries that criminalise homosexuality have enforced the law more harshly in recent years, with many governments proposing stricter laws and sentences, including most recently in Ghana and Uganda.

Rights groups say the LGBT community in Ethiopia remains underground because LGBT people face high levels of discrimination and fear violence and ostracism if their identities are discovered.

The Addis Ababa Peace and Security Administration Bureau, a government body, said it was taking action “against institutions where homosexual acts are carried out” following tip-offs from the public, and had already raided a guest house in the city.

“If there is any sympathy for those who commit and execute this abominable act that is hated by man and God, (the bureau) will continue to take action,” the city administration said in a post on Facebook.

Gay sex is prohibited by law in Ethiopia, but there are no recent reports of people being convicted for engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity.

Earlier this week an LGBT advocacy group, the House of Guramayle, said it condemned a recent escalation in attacks on individuals in Ethiopia based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

(This story has been corrected to change sourcing from Ethiopia News Agency to Addis Ababa Peace and Security Administration Bureau in paragraphs 1, 4 and 5)

(Reporting by Tiksa Negeri, Writing by Hereward Holland, Editing by William Maclean)