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Seychelles to Decriminalize Homosexuality, Other Countries Say No

Seychelles to Decriminalize Homosexuality, Other Countries Say No

 

The African country of The Seychelles has agreed to decriminalize homosexuality. The agreement is part of the country’s feedback to the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the Universal Periodic Review process. The Pacific Island nation of Palau also agreed to decriminalization.

The Seychelles will also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The government said:

The Constitution of Seychelles makes provision for all persons to be free from discrimination on all grounds. Article 27 of the Constitution states that “Every person has a right to equal protection of the law including the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set out in this Charter without discrimination on any ground except as is necessary in a democratic society.” The one provision in the Penal Code for “sodomy” does not directly discriminate homosexuals as it is intended for penalizing the offence of sodomy as such. In any case this provision has never been applied against anyone.

The Government will decide as to when and to what extend the legislation could be amended to better guarantee the Constitutional precept that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons are not to be discriminated in Seychelles.

Pressed on what the timeframe is for change, the second Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sandra Michel, answered that “the change of relevant laws would come pretty soon, as the government and civil society want so.”

The Seychelles sodomy law is a relic of the British Empire. Seychellois are 82% Roman Catholic. One third of the workforce are employed in tourism.

Other countries told the UN that they would not be decriminalizing.

Sierra Leone said no need as ‘there was no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation’ in their country.

Singapore said no and blamed a ‘conservative society’ and also claimed that “LGBT persons did not have to hide their sexual orientation for fear of losing their jobs or for fear of prosecution.” Saint Vincent and Grenadines said that sodomy laws “all enjoyed wide popular support in the State and there was no legislative appetite to repeal any of these provisions.”

Also rejecting decriminalization was Suriname. They said: “Debate with religious authorities and other groups regarding the extension of special rights to LBGT individuals, is necessary.” They also claimed no knowledge of discrimination. But they agreed with a NGO representative present in Geneva to discuss LGBT issues further when back home. Samoa also cited Christianity ‘and culturally sensitivities’ but claimed that any case which reached the court would be thrown out anyway because of ‘discrimination.’

The Solomon Islands said they would consider budgeting for a national consultation on decriminalization. Papua New Guinea claimed they are already consulting.

No NGOs bothered asking the Somalia or Sudanese governments about LGBT issues.

Criminalization of homosexuality within the Commonwealth is an issue which activists are hoping to get into the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit. If you live in a Commonwealth nation, you can help with the lobbying effort.

 

Related Stories:

Will South Africa Choose a Sexist Homophobe As Chief Justice?

Cameroon to Toughen Anti-Gay Laws

Zimbabwe: 5 Men Arrested for Being Gay

 

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Photo from vectorportal via flickr

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39 comments

+ add your own
10:04AM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:53PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Odd!!! I can't find "shirley s." profile page!! There are many other Shirley S. here on Care2., but none are the same person. They all have profile pics. Maybe she has been booted off? I have seen, read and responded to her before. Maybe she received enough 'flag as inappropriate' responses that she was removed?? Can a person make their profile private? Who knows. I don't think she will become any more enlightened by anything we have to say, just more hardened in her beliefs.

5:01PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

The Seychelles rely in a very large portion on tourist money so it's essential for them to provide protection for LGBT to maintain a friendly and welcoming place to visit. As for the other countries mentioned in the article, many seem to be in the hands of xtianity to decide what laws are needed. No surprise there. Where xtianity rules, all civil rights go out the door.

8:31PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

I love that the Seychelles can do this, but America, supposedly the leader of the free world, cannot. How can we be the leader of the free world if a significant percentage of our population isn't free to be who they are because it might cost them their job?

10:00AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

I really hope every country follow.

10:26PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Pamela H. You are right about the psychopath comment but they are actually sociopaths,not psychopaths, they probably are in their spare time though.

9:53PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Some small progress.

9:10PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

One step forward and what a good step it is too! Here's to legalization and soon.

9:10PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Spirit is everywhere, in every person, in all sentient beings....how can one human criticize and judge sexuality when most humans are sexually active? Judge themselves, first. So many souls choose various bodies to spare others for a lifetime, and we also all experience a variety of levels of conscious awareness, talents, situations where we know what it is to be treated poorly and to be treated well. How can any one dare to be audacious enough to pride themselves on condemning any others situation, as, we all in one lifetime or another will be the very same as those we either condemn or praise today. Harming life is the only thing we are to condemn. If people take it upon themselves to judge others, then, we may condemn them for such harmful decisions and stand up for those who are the brunt of such bigotry.

8:34PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

@ shirley s. You are either an uneducated idiot or a total bigot. "which is a sexual disorder and abnormal affection" GLBT is neither a sexual disorder or abnormal affection. This is the 21st century not the 14th. Do a little scientific studying before you make idiotic claims.


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