Senegal’s president, newly inaugurated on Monday, April 2, was greeted this week with a call from Human Rights Watch to repeal the country’s laws against homosexual behavior. Criminalization of homosexuality hinders efforts to halt the spread of AIDS, the advocacy group said.
“In February 2008, police arrested 19 men in Dakar solely on the basis of photos that appeared in a magazine alleging they had attended a ‘gay marriage.’ Police threatened to kill the men, and ill-treated them in custody before releasing them.
“In December 2008, police arrested nine men in Mbao who were attending a training on HIV/AIDS prevention. The men spent four months in detention. Police tortured them, forcing several of them to strip naked and beating some of them with batons so brutally that they could not sit for days; one victim said a police officer sexually assaulted him.
“In addition to these two noteworthy incidents, a number of other men in Senegal told Human Rights Watch they had been arrested on the mere suspicion of being gay. Several were beaten with batons and one man said police tortured him by sticking needles under his nails. …
“In light of evidence that the criminalization of homosexuality is an impediment to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, as well as a violation of the rights to privacy and non-discrimination that are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the new government should review with a view to repealing Article 319.3 of the Penal Code, and should consider passing anti-discrimination legislation that protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Sall has not responded publicly to the Human Rights Watch letter.
In his campaign for president, he focused on a promise to lower the prices of food.
Article 319 of Senegal’s Penal Code states: “whoever will have committed an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years and by a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 francs. If the act was committed with a person below the age of 21, the maximum penalty will always be applied.”
- Senegal’s new president Sall takes oath of office (sacbee.com)
- Senegal’s new president Macky Sall takes oath of office (ctv.ca)
- How not to fight AIDS – beat up gays (76crimes.com)