Senegal legislators draft new law targeting LGBT community

Gay sex is punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal, where arrests and prosecutions have surged, according to a 2020 global assessment by the International Lesbian Association (ILGA).

Lawmaker Alioune Souare said he helped draft an update to the anti-LGBT+ law.

“We hope to present the proposal to parliament by the end of the week,” he told Reuters.

The bill would extend prison terms from 5 years to 10 years and specifically criminalize LGBT+ activities. Current law targets anyone who engages in “anti-nature behavior” with people of the same sex.

It is unclear how much support the bill will gain in parliament.

Senegalese LGBT+ activist Djamil Bangoura has called on the international community to put pressure on the authorities to reject the new law.

“When individual liberties, especially the most sacred of privacy – privacy between consenting adults – are attacked, there is little time left for the realization that democracy The owner is under threat,” he said.

Same-sex relationships are still taboo in many socially conservative African societies, where some religious groups see it as a spoiled import of the West. The practice is legal in only 22 of Africa’s 54 countries, and can be punishable by the death penalty or lengthy prison sentences in others, according to the ILGA.

In Senegal, LGBT+ activists also face smear campaigns and death threats, according to the international human rights organization Amnesty International.

Neighboring Ghana is also considering an anti-LGBT+ law that would extend prison terms and force some people to undergo “conversion therapy” aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.

So-called conversion therapy, also known as alternative treatments, is based on the assumption that sexual orientation can be changed or “cured” – an idea discredited by major medical associations in the United Kingdom , the United States and elsewhere. This activity has been banned in several countries, including in Canada and for those under the age of 18 in Germany.


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