Covering Stories on LGTB Community in Liberia Remains a Sticky Issue, Says Journalist Gboko Stewart

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By: Charlotte Cole & Nathan Charles

Liberian journalist, Gboko Stewart says, reporting issues surrounding the sexual minority in the country remains a difficult endeavor.

According to Stewart, there is a little national commitment to the process irrespective of the country’s signatory to the Universal Declaration For Human Rights, which most citizens are opposing.

Gboko Stewart who is the founder of Journal Rage, maintains that his online news magazine platform is dedicated to voicing out the opinions of members of the LGTB community.

Speaking on behalf of the voiceless the journalist wants to ensure that people are not discriminated against regardless of race, gender, religious or political orientation.

Liberia was founded on Christian principles and as such, most Liberians hold in high esteem the moral standards that discourage lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

But Stewart, a professional human rights reporter trained by the Canadian Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and other media groups in Cape town, South Africa said, his focus is only on the LGTB community.

He said as a journalist, it is also risky covering the sexual minority community and little or no support is provided to continue giving voice to the voiceless LGBT community in Liberia.

Journalist Stewart lamented that, denying people access to public and private healthcare facilities, facing discrimination on the job, being outcast by families and friends, defeat the purpose of exercising one’s right as a human.

“Sometimes people of the minority group, LGBT infected by HIV/AIDS or other illnesses confidentiality is violated and disclosed to the society.”

Mr. Stewart in an interview with KMTV-USA Sunday May 24, 2020 says, based on his interview with the LGBT community, all they want is freedom in society like everyone else.

Mr. Stewart in an interview with KMTV-USA Presenter Charlotte Cole

Journalist Stewart says for instance, whenever any member from the LGBT community goes to the Police to seek protection from harm or danger, he or she is rather arrested for being gay, while the perpetrators go scot free.

However, he warns that the government be careful to avoid violating the status code of the Universal Declaration For Human Rights and other protocols they signed to protect people’s rights.

According to the 2019 US State Department report on Liberia, there are records of assault, harassment and hate speech levied against the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, Stewart in his conclusion said, the first step to ensuring anyone repudiated justice due to his or her sexual identity, will be to establish a war crimes court which addresses impunity.

“The first step to ensuring anyone who doesn’t have a voice and justice for everyone regardless of their sexual status is to have the issue of the war crime court, because it addresses impunity. When impunity has been address so systematically, when we make show we bring all actors of the war ,because during the war people of sexual minority were killed and all those impunity of the pass continue to live with us, and that is why you see people continue to make violence against people with sexual minority.” He said.

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