Swedish and Finnish embassies in Zambia are facing a backlash in the country after raising the rainbow flag along with their own national flags on their premises on Tuesday.
Same-sex relationships are outlawed in Zambia, where British colonial-era laws on homosexuality still apply.
The Swedish embassy in Zambia tweeted the rainbow flag using the hashtag #Idahot2022, which stands for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.
Today on #IDAHOT2022 the Swedish and Finnish Embassies 🇸🇪 🇫🇮 fly the 🏳️🌈 flag in support and commitment of #LGBTIQ ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜#LGBTIQ rights are #HumanRights – always & everywhere!#StandUp4HumanRights#DriveforDemocracy#SweZam 🇸🇪🇿🇲 pic.twitter.com/vKk6EJRdXj
— Sweden in Zambia 🇸🇪 (@SwedeninZM) May 17, 2022
“LGBTIQ rights are human rights – always and everywhere,” read the tweet.
The Finnish ambassador also tweeted “standing together for human rights”.
Former Zambian diplomat Emmanuel Mwamba has demanded answers from the country’s foreign ministry.
“It is surprising that these embassies chose to fly these flags at their premises without due regard to the law and cultural sensitivity of Zambians and Zambia on the matter,” he was quoted as saying.
In December 2019, the US recalled its ambassador to Zambia over a diplomatic row after he had criticised the imprisonment of a gay couple.
The Zambian government had accused the ambassador of trying to dictate policy.