City authorities in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have announced a crackdown on same-sex activity in hotels and bars and called on people to report such “abominable” acts to police.
The Addis Ababa Peace and Security Administration Bureau said it was taking measures “against hotels, restaurants, guest houses and other entertainment venues suspected of involvement in homosexual acts”.
It said in a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday that it had already raided a guest house in Addis Ababa following a tipoff and its manager had been arrested.
The government body “will continue to crack down on such abominable acts, which are despised by God and man, in cooperation with the police,” it said, urging people with information about same-sex activity to report it to the authorities.
Gay sex is illegal for both men and women in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, and some offences can carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.
LGBTQ activist group The House of Guramayle said there had been an escalation in attacks against people in Ethiopia “based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity”.
“Individuals suspected of belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community are being physically attacked in Ethiopia,” it said in a statement issued on Monday, accusing users on social media platform TikTok of fuelling the violence.
A 2022 US State Department report on the rights situation in Ethiopia said there had been no reports of people being incarcerated or prosecuted for engaging in consensual same-sex sexual conduct.
It said while there were reports of violence against LGBTQI+ people there were no hate crime laws or other judicial mechanisms for the investigation of abuses against members of the community.