BOOSHTEE! Survival and Resilience in Ethiopia

IDS Evidence Report
Overs, C.
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Thursday, 11 June, 2015


As the only country in the region that was never fully colonised, Ethiopia has a unique religious, cultural and political history. Famously the site of historical conflicts and humanitarian crises, contemporary Ethiopia enjoys a strong geopolitical position as the base of the African Union and one of Africa’s most successful economies. It is against this background that powerful interests within the country sustain high levels of persecution and discrimination that force Ethiopian men who are sexually attracted to men (gay men) to make difficult choices to sustain themselves in extremely difficult circumstances.

Recommendations focus on ways that governments and international agencies can influence development programming and law and policy reform in ways that reduce the exclusionary impact of hatred of homosexuality and those who practise it. In particular, the report urges international agencies to find ways to help strengthen the nascent Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) community by supporting research and information sharing and establishing links with international HIV and human rights organisations, diaspora communities and African and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movements. 

  • Homosexuality is illegal in Ethiopia, same-sex behaviour is not prosecuted because the government views it as a low law enforcement priority 
  • The illegality of same-sex relations continues to drive and justify social and economic exclusion and human rights abuses of same-sex attracted people
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