Unraveling the crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights in several African countries

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08/14/2023

Despite global efforts to promote inclusivity and equal rights, several African nations have taken measures to crack down on LGBTQ+ communities, sparking concerns among human rights activists and international organizations. On May 2 this year, the Ugandan parliament passed a bill that leaves the LGBTQ+ community vulnerable to severe punishments, including imprisonment and capital punishment. In Ghana, in July, members of parliament unanimously voted in favor of amendments to the country’s anti-gay legislation, bringing it closer to becoming law. Moreover, in Kenya, several politicians have openly expressed their support for bolstering existing laws targeting LGBTQ+ individuals. One Kenyan opposition MP is leading a campaign to further criminalise the country’s LGBTQ+ community. In Namibia, the ruling party is threatening a Supreme Court decision that recognises same-sex marriage contracted outside the country. Many African countries inherited colonial-era laws criminalizing homosexuality and same-sex relationships. An example of these laws is “the anti-sodomy laws” of Bostwana. These archaic laws, often remnants of colonial rule, have persisted despite global advancements in LGBTQ+ rights. Governments may continue enforcing these laws because of the deeply ingrained belief that homosexuality is a foreign concept conflicting with traditional values.

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