(this is a statement issued by Pan Africa ILGA,
regarding Gabon voting to decriminalise consensual same-sex relations.
The original statement can be accessed here)
(30 June 2020) Pan Africa ILGA welcomes the decision made by Gabon’s legislature to decriminalise same-sex relations.
In 2019, Article 402(5) was enacted in Gabon and the function of that law was to prohibit consensual same-sex activity. The penalty for a guilty verdict was six months imprisonment and a fine. After the law was introduced, it had never fully been enforced. 48 members of the National Assembly voted to amend the criminal legislation by removing the paragraph prohibiting sexual relations between people of the same sex. On Monday 29th of June, 59 Senators in the upper house voted for the law to be scrapped. The law will be formalized once the president ratifies it.
The reversal of this law is a positive move for the region and should serve as an example for African States that continue to criminalise consensual same-sex sexual activities.
“According to late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela 'To deny people their Human Rights challenge their very humanity'. The Gabonese Government and people have shown by the removal of the homophobic laws that restricted and prohibited adults consensual same-sex relationships, that they truly understand that irrespective of our differences in the way we choose to love and live, LGBTQI+ persons humanity shouldn't be challenged and restricted by laws.
All humans are born free and equal and therefore we are entitled to every right that others will claim for themselves. We hope that many more African countries emulate the Gabonese government and realize that these homophobic laws restricting and punishing consensual adult same sex relationships are not progressive. We say kudos to the Gabonese government and people. We remain in Solidarity with our sisters and brothers living in countries where their humanity has been stripped off of them.” - Juliet Ulanmo, Chairperson of the Board.
“Lawmakers in Gabon's lower house of parliament on Tuesday voted to decriminalise homosexuality, becoming one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reverse a law that punishes sexual relations between people of the same sex. Human rights are rights inborn to all human beings regardless of who we are. We are equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. Across the continent, things are moving more in the right direction than in the wrong direction. I am envisaging to see a lot of change in the next 5-10 years. Aluta Continua!” - Nate Brown, Executive Director of Pan Africa ILGA.
Pan Africa ILGA Secretariat
Pan Africa ILGA is the African chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. PAI is dedicated to supporting LGBTI organising in the promotion and protection of LGBT rights in Africa