LGBT rights in Senegal

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LGBT rights in Senegal
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
1 to 5 years imprisonment, fine. Maximum penalty applies if committed with a person under 21.[1]
Gender identity/expression -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Senegal face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Senegal specifically outlaws same-sex sexual acts, and has prosecuted men accused of homosexuality in the past. Homosexuals face routine discrimination in the society.

According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, a strong 96% of Senegal residents said that homosexuality should be rejected by society, making it one of the highest rejection of homosexuality in the 44 countries surveyed.[2]

Laws against homosexuality

Homosexual activity is illegal in Senegal. Article 319, paragraph 3 of the Senegal Penal Code, in the edition of the law of n° 66-16 of 12 February 1966 bans homosexual conduct.

A spokesperson for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, interviewed in 2009, described "pretty consistent human rights violations… in Senegal," but, citing a Dakar conference on HIV and advertisements for condom use showing male partners which demonstrate "both a movement towards progressive and inclusive culture but at the same time very, very strong movements towards oppression, specifically towards sexuality," [3]

2008 and 2009 prosecutions

In 2008 and 2009, two high profile cases of prosecution of Gay men brought national and international focus on LGBT rights in Senegal. In 2008, Dakar's Icone magazine reported on a "Gay Marriage" which had taken place in a private home. It had earlier published an "exposé" on the existence of homosexuality in Senegal, and the photos led to the arrest of five men who appeared in them. The men were released without charge, but it was not clear if they stemmed from anti-homosexuality laws or death threats the editor of the magazine said he had received.[4]

In December 2008 nine men were arrested in a private flat in Dakar, allegedly after a police received an anonymous tip.[5] The five were tried, convicted, and sentenced to eight year prison terms in January 2008 for "indecent conduct and unnatural acts". This was the longest sentence in Senegalese history for homosexuality, as the judge added an additional three years for "being members of a criminal group" to the maximum five year sentence for homosexual behavior. The judge was reported to believe that the nine were members of an organisation "recruiting" homosexuals.[6][7] The nine were members of an anti-HIV/Aids pressure group, and international NGOs and governments protested to Senegal over the sentence. All were released after their convictions were overturned on appeal in April 2009, but had been forced to be held in special quarters due to threats from other inmates.[7][8]

Press attention again focused on gay men in Senegal when local and international press reported the corpse of a man reputed to have been homosexual was twice disinterred from a cemetery in ThiÃs and dumped at his families doorstep overnight.[9]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

The government of Senegal does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Discrimination protections

There is no legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

See also


  1. Ottosson, Daniel (May 2008). State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults Page 34. International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). Retrieved on 2009-05-05.
  3. Shock at Senegal gay jail terms. Quotes from IGLHRC's Cary Alan Johnson. BBC. 8 January 2009.
  4. Senegal 'gay wedding' men freed. BBC. 7 February 2008.
  5. 'Nine Men Convicted of Homosexual Acts in Senegal', The Advocate, 01/10/09-01/12/09 [1]
  6. 9 men jailed in Senegal for homosexual acts. The Associated Press. Retrieved on 2009-01-08.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Men accused of homosexuality may walk free. SAPA/AFP April 20 2009
  8. Senegal gay convictions quashed. BBC. 20 April 2009
  9. 'Gay man' disinterred in Senegal. BBC News. 4 May 2009

External links


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