Of Africa’s 54 nations, 34 currently have laws against same-sex intimacy (see list on p2). The latest country where it is illegal to be gay is the north-central African nation of Chad.
Two other African nations — Kenya and Botswana — may be heading in the opposite direction. High courts there have scheduled hearings in early 2019 on constitutional challenges to their anti-gay laws.
In August 2017, Chad enacted a law providing for prison sentences of three months to two years for same-sex intimacy.
This is the wording of the law, translated from French:
Chapter II on “Other offenses against decency” of Title VII (relating to sexual offences) of the Penal Code, provides as follows:
Article 354. Everyone who has sex with persons of the same sex is liable to imprisonment for three months to two years and a fine of between 50,000 and 500,000 francs.
Chapter III on “Offenses of a sexual nature committed against minors” of Title VIII (relating to offenses against the person or the status of the child) of the Penal Code, provides as follows:
Article 360. Anyone who, without violence, maintains a sexual relationship or practices sexual touching on a person of the same sex aged less than eighteen (18) years will be punished with imprisonment of one (1) to three (3) years and a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 francs.
India and Trinidad overturned their anti-gay laws in 2018. Kenya and Botswana might do the same in 2019.
The Botswana High Court has scheduled a hearing for March 15, 2019, on the constitutionality of Botswana’s laws that make same-sex intimacy a crime.
The Kenyan High Court in Nairobi set Feb. 22, 2019, as the date when it will announce whether it will overturn the law imposing up to 14 years in prison for consensual gay sex.
The court challenge in Kenya came from the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), an independent human rights organization.
The challenge in Botswana was filed by a gay man identified only as LM, who is supported by the local LGBT rights group Legabibo.
Legabibo said it will submit information to the court on how the anti-gay law affects LGBT residents, “including how it limits their ability to access basic services and infringes on their human dignity.”
Similar constitutional challenges confront the anti-gay laws of Barbados, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malawi, and Singapore. Other challenges to anti-gay laws are reportedly in the works in Cameroon, Morocco, and Tunisia.
LGBT rights activists won victories in court in 2018.
Trinidad’s High Court ruled in April that that nation’s anti-gay law was unconstitutional. India’s Supreme Court made a similar ruling in September.
The actions in India, Trinidad and Chad brought the number of countries with laws against homosexual or lesbian sexual activity to 74. In general, that number has been dropping year by year.
• In 2016, the Supreme Count in Belize overturned that nation’s anti-sodomy law, at least as applied to consensual sex.
• Also in 2016, Seychelles and Nauru repealed their anti-gay laws.
• In 2014, Mozambique, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Northern Cyprus also eliminated their anti-homosexuality laws.
Successful challenges in Botswana and Kenya would reduce to 72 the worldwide number of countries with anti-homosexuality laws. The tally is down from 92 countries with such laws back in 2006.
As 2019 begins, 74 countries have anti-gay laws, and 34 of these areAfrican countries:
17 Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
24 Sierra Leone
26 South Sudan
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