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2019 goal: Eliminate two more countries’ anti-gay laws

Botswana and Kenya will be the next two countries to overturn their anti-gay laws, if court challenges there succeed.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


India and Trinidad overturned their anti-gay laws this year. Kenya and Botswana might do the same next year.
India and Trinidad overturned their anti-gay laws this year. Kenya and Botswana might do the same next year.

The Botswana High Court last week scheduled a hearing for March 15, 2019, on the constitutionality of Botswana’s laws that make same-sex intimacy a crime.

Previously, 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 logo
Legabibo logo

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 have already won victories in court this year.

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 north-central African nation of Chad, however, has been heading in the other direction. In August 2017, it enacted a law providing for prison sentences of three months to two years for same-sex intimacy.

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.

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.

Source: Rights Africa

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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