The year 2020 had more than its share of grim news for LGBTQ+ people. If you read this summary, you might want to dilute its impact by also reading “LGBTQ+ year in review: 42 examples of good news in 2020”.
To read more about any topic, follow the link to the original article in Erasing 76 Crimes or, in several cases, a link to ILGA’s December 2020 update of its State-Sponsored Homophobia report.
All these developments occurred in the 72 nations with anti-homosexuality laws.
- Mauritania: Police arrest 10 after seeing video of ‘gay wedding’
- The 10 men were arrested at a suspected “gay wedding” that turned out to be a birthday party. Eight of the men were given two-year prison sentences that were immediately reduced to six months with a warning that the original sentence would be restored for anyone who “reoffended” within the next five years.
MARCH THROUGH DECEMBER — THE COSF-19 SAGA:
- Ugandan fear of Covid-19 leads to 23 arrests at LGBT shelter
- Uganda: After 49 days, 19 prisoners ordered to be freed
- Day 50: Freedom for 19 LGBT Ugandans, finally
- Uganda: Court awards $1,341 to each of 19 jailed LGBT youths
- 20 Ugandans sue, citing torture during arrests, in prison
- Uganda officials ignore criminal summonses for LGBTQ torture
- Two Ugandan officials face arrest on charges of torturing gays
- Uganda: COSF 20 human rights abuse case adjourned to March
- LGBTI in Cameroon: 50 arrested on Covid-19 charges (Thanks to coordinated intervention by local activists, they were promptly released.)
- “A Senegalese national accused of being gay was arrested in June 2020. Due to the postponement of trial dates and limited reporting on the matter, the outcome of this case is unknown.” (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- Cameroon: Four gay men arrested, beaten in Kekem
- Following their lawyer’s advice, the four men pleaded guilty and the highlighted extenuating circumstances, including the fact that they had confessed in the face of threats and torture. They were then freed and given light sentences.
- In Algeria: “In July 2020, 44 people in Constantine province were arrested and charged for allegedly organising and participating in a ‘same-sex wedding’ between two men. In September 2020 two individuals from the group were sentenced to three years in prison, and two others to one year in prison each, despite the group reportedly claiming that the event was a birthday party, and not a wedding.” (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- In Pakistan: “In August 2020 an arrest warrant was reportedly issued for a trans man who married a cisgender woman, for what authorities viewed as a same-sex wedding. (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- Ten suspected homosexuals were arrested in September 2020 by religious militia in the holy city of Touba. They were released and escaped to other countries with assistance from local and international LGBTQ rights activists.
- In Ghana: ” In September 2020, local media indicated that 11 lesbian women were arrested in the city of Aflao, in the Volta region, after a video of two of them reportedly engaging in sexual acts became known.” (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- In Indonesia: Nine men were arrested in Jakarta following a raid on a private party and charged with “committing or facilitating obscene acts with another person”. (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- In Indonesia: The Semarang Military Court sentenced a soldier to one year’s imprisonment and dismissal from military duty for having same-sex intercourse. (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- ” A] Pakistan-based digital media platform reported that two lesbian women were “arrested by the police after their relatives and friends reported about their relationship and marriage plan.” (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)
- Uganda police seize human rights lawyer probing violence and Uganda: Nicholas Opiyo charged, sent to prison for weekend but then Uganda: Rights lawyer freed on bail after week in prison
BAD NEWS FROM THE GAMBIA:
When moderate president Adama Barrow took power in the Gambia in 2016, replacing the rabidly homophobic Yahya Jammeh,
he said that “homosexuality is not an issue” in the country. Then Foreign Secretary Ousainou Darboe said he would support the repeal of Gambia’s anti-homosexual law. But in 2020, the government issued a statement that “decriminalization of homosexuality is not on the agenda in The Gambia”. Darboe, who is now leading the UDP opposition party, said “homosexuality cannot be decriminalized in this country, no matter what.
BAD NEWS FROM NIGERIA:
In 2020, local media outlets reported that religious police in Kano State arrested at least 15 young men. Religious police in Jigawa State arrested two men. (State Sponsored Homophobia, ILGA, December 2020 update)