Chadian Parliament Considers Anti-Gay Provision to New Penal Code

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed alarm over a provision to criminalize homosexuality that is being considered for adoption as part of a new penal code in Chad. Article 361 of the new penal code would punish homosexual acts with a maximum 20-year prison term.

“The passage of this provision would be detrimental to the human rights of LGBT people, endangering the LGBT community in Chad, and adding to a growing tide of violence and discrimination that has taken route in Africa in nations including Nigeria, The Gambia, and Uganda,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord.  “The United States should immediately condemn this provision and engage with members of Chad’s parliament and President Idriss Deby and convince them to advance human rights by rejecting this provision in the country’s new penal code.”

Article 361 of the new penal code would add Chad to ranks of a growing number of nations who have outlawed consensual sex between members of the same sex. Earlier this year, neighboring Nigeria broadened its set of anti-gay laws by enacting the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which established an up-to-14-year prison sentence for those participating in gay marriages and a five-year penalty for those who enable such ceremonies.  Uganda’s recently overturned legislation called for life-imprisonment for individuals convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as repeated intercourse between gay men. Ugandan leaders are considering avenues for reintroducing similar legislation.  Earlier this month, officials in The Gambia ushered forward a copycat version of the Ugandan law with little or no resistance.

Human Rights First urges the United States and the international community to continue to work closely with African human rights activists and civil society leaders to promote the protection of the human rights of all Africans. The organization is also calling for the State Department to establish a Special Envoy in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor responsible for foreign policy initiatives to protect the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.

Human Rights First’s African Voices for Equality Map details some of the brave leaders who are standing up for equality and dignity for all people. Human Rights First and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s recently released report  provides brief country-specific overviews on the status of LGBT people in each of the Africa’s 54 nations.

Press

Published on September 23, 2014

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