Despite gains, anti-gay laws widespread in Africa
Publish date: 10 June 2019
Issue Number: 827
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Watchdogs have noted that more than half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa currently have anti-homosexuality laws, although others have moved toward legal tolerance. Twenty-eight out of 49 countries have laws penalising same-sex relationships, according to Neela Ghoshal, a Human Rights Watch specialist in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. The death penalty is on the books, under sharia, in Mauritania, Sudan and northern Nigeria, although there have been no known executions in recent times. A report on the News24 site notes that Kenya's High Court, in a much-awaited verdict, refuses to scrap laws criminalising homosexuality, fearing this would lead to same-sex marriage which it said was unconstitutional. However, Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles have scrapped anti-gay laws in recent years. Chad, Nigeria and Burundi have introduced or toughened legislation.