"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gay rights in Africa: In Mauritania and Sudan, same-sex relationships can lead to the death penalty

LONDON, May 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African countries have some of the most prohibitive laws against homosexuality in the world - same-sex relationships are a crime in many of them and can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, here are a few facts about LGBT rights on the African continent:

* Same sex acts are illegal in 32 countries across the continent.

* Laws criminalising same-sex relationships only apply to women in only 24 of these. In countries such as Ghana, Kenya or Sierra Leone, it is illegal for men to engage in consensual sex with someone of the same sex but not for women.

* In Mauritania and Sudan, same-sex relationships can lead to the death penalty.

* In Nigeria, 54 people went on trial last week on charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding, which are outlawed in the country. A bill was signed in 2014 that criminalised same-sex relationships, with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

* South Africa is the only African country that has legalised gay marriage. Same-sex marriage legislation came into force there in 2006.

* Only 19 percent of African respondents approved of same-sex marriage in a survey conducted in October 2016.

* Ivory Coast and its capital Abidjan are considered a refuge for the LGBT community in the region with gay bars, gay rights groups, and even an annual cross-dressing beauty pageant. 

Sources: ILGA, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters, May 17, 2017

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