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Legislation concerning sexual orientation

Gabon criminalizes gay sex

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Gabon is a country on the Atlantic shore of Africa, close to the Equator. It is south of Cameroon and North of the Congo Republic and Angola.

It was previously a French colony. Unlike many colonial nations, it never had a law that criminalized same-sex bahavior.

During 2019-JUL, the country passed a law banning:

"sexual ralations between people of the same sex."

Mac-Iyalla of the Ghana-based Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa said:

"It has further sent the LGBT community underground and has created harassment. ... The corrupt police now use that, arrest people, and then people have to bribe their way out."

Conviction under the law brings a jail sentence of up to six months in jail, and a fine of 5 million CFA francs, which is equivalent to about U.S. $8,520.

This law in Gabon reversed a recent world-wide trend that had decriminalised gay sex in India and Botswana. As of the end of 2019, the number of countries criminalizing same-sex sexual behavior is 70. Restrictive laws are being challanged in the courts of Kenya, Mauritius, Singapore, and six Caribbean nations.

Lucas Ramon Mendos, a researcher at ILGA World, said:

"Globally ... we’re seeing polarizing tensions. ... Where things are getting better, there is a momentum for even more improvement, and where things are bad now we’re seeing things are worsening."

ILGA World reports that 28 countries prosecuted LGBT+ individuals durinng 2019 and 17 people as of mid-2019-DEC.

Neela Ghoshal, a researcher with Human Rights Watch said:

"It’s unfortunate that a lot of African countries have claimed and owned those homophobic, colonial values, but others haven't. In general, across the continent, things are moving more in the right direction than in the wrong direction ... I’m guessing you’ll see a lot of change in the next 10 years or so." 1

As of mid 2019-DEC, 33 out of 54 African countries still criminalize consensual same-sex activities.

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Reference used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Rachel Savage, "Gabon bans gay sex as global pace of reform falters," Reuters, 2019-DEC-13, at: https://www.reuters.com/

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Copyright © 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2019-DEC-15
Author: B.A. Robinson
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