SENEGAL – 02 March 2009: United Nations’ member states have urged Senegal to repeal its Penal Code which criminalises homosexual conduct. This was proposed at the UN Universal Periodic Review held in Geneva from 11-13 February 2009.
The United Kingdom, Canada and Netherlands cited that the code violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
On the other hand, Senegalese representatives denied that their country prosecutes homosexuals, a statement that directly contradicts the provisions of that country’s penal code.
Article 319.3 of Senegal’s Penal Code states that “Whoever commits an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years.”
Even so “the delegation gave assurance that sexual orientation is a private matter and denied that Senegal prosecutes homosexual conduct”, The International Service for Human Rights stated in its website.
Meanwhile human rights violations against gay people continue unabated in Senegal.
In January this year nine men were arrested in Darkar on suspicion of engaging in homosexual conduct and were charged with “indecent and unnatural acts” and “forming associations of criminals.”
Pushing forward, Amnesty International submitted a report to the UN Universal Periodic Review recommending that Senegal repeals all laws compromising human rights on the basis of sexual orientation.
This submission calls for Senegal to “end incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence against individuals on the basis of their real or perceived engagement in consensual same sex practices and/or gender identity.”
According UN, This Universal Periodic Review aims to keep all countries accountable and reminds states of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“This mechanism has great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world”, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said in the UN website.
The Intl. Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights
33 Islington High Street
London N1 9LH
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7278 3230
Fax: +44 (0)20 7278 4334