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Senegal

in SENEGAL, 14/02/2008

Homosexuality must no longer be a crime

Paris, Dakar, Ouagadougou, Maputo, Brussels, February 8, 2008. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisations in Senegal, the Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l'Homme (RADDHO), the Organisation nationale des droits de l'Homme (ONDH), the Union interafricaine (UIDH), Amnesty International Senegal (AI), the Pan Africa ILGA and its 41 gay and lesbian affiliates, and the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and its 600 affiliates take note of the release, after 3 days of arbitrary detention, of 10 persons held in Dakar in connection with the investigation of an alleged homosexual marriage.

On 5 February , 10 persons were arrested and detained at the Criminal Investigation Division in Dakar, Senegal. These arrests followed the publication in a monthly magazine of a report concerning homosexuality in Senegal, in which photos of individuals celebrating an alleged homosexual marriage were printed. The 10 individuals were interviewed concerning allegations of indecency and unnatural marriage. Others appearing in the photos, fearing reprisals, have reportedly fled the country and are sought by the Senegalese authorities.

Under the Senegalese Criminal code, homosexual acts are punishable by 5 years imprisonment and to a fine of 100 000 to 1 500 000 CFA francs (between 150 and 2300 euros) . In penalising private relations , the law contravenes provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , in force in Senegal since 1978, which provides under Article 17 (1) that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation”. In addition, these discriminatory provisions of the Criminal code are contrary to the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights that provides under Article 3 (1) that “every individual shall be equal before the law.”

While our organisations welcome the liberation of the ten individuals who were arrested, we remain concerned their physical and psychological integrity.

Consequently, we urge the Senegalese authorities to:


- Ensure the physical and psychological integrity of the persons charged in this affair, and more generally, firmly condemn homophobic acts that attack the physical and psychological integrity of homosexual individuals;
- Revise the Criminal code to abolish punishment of homosexual acts;
- Conform with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in particular Articles 17 (1) and 26, as well as the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights , and in particular Article 3.

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l'Homme (RADDHO)
Organisation nationale des droits de l'Homme (ONDH)
Union interafricaine des droits de l'Homme (UIDH)
Amnesty International Senegal (AI)
Pan Africa ILGA - the African Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)
International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)


Contacts:
Gaël Grilhot
Responsable du service de presse
FIDH
17 passage de la main d'or
75011 Paris
France
tel : 00 33 1 43 55 90 19
fax : 00 33 1 43 55 18 80

Stephen Barris
International Lesbian and Gay Association – ILGA
17 Rue de la Charité
1210 Bruxelles Belgium
Communication officer
tel : 00 32 2 502 24 71
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