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Home News Homosexuality and the law in Africa

Homosexuality and the law in Africa

Published on 03/07/2014

Two Zambian men charged with having consensual gay sex were acquitted in a high-profile case Thursday.

Here are some facts about homosexuality and the law in Africa:

– Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries, including Zambia, according to Amnesty International, with punishment ranging from short jail sentences to the death penalty.

– In Mauritania and Sudan homosexuality is an offence punishable by death.

– In Nigeria displays of affection between homosexual couples in public are illegal and punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

– Under controversial new laws in Uganda same-sex relationships can be punished by up to 14 years imprisonment and a life sentence for multiple offences. The laws also prevent the support of gay rights by individuals, companies, media organisations and NGOs.

– Since 2005, more than 50 arrests for same-sex conduct have been made in Cameroon, according to Amnesty. Suspects have often been detained and forced to submit to anal examinations.

– In Zambia homosexual relations are punishable by jail terms of 15 years or more.

– Alone in Africa, South Africa’s constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, apartheid and colonial-era laws prohibiting sodomy have been ruled unconstitutional and same-sex marriages are recognised.