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Namibian Court Rules Against Laws Criminalising Same-sex Relationships

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Namibian Court LGBTQ

A top Namibian court on Friday ruled against the country’s colonial-era laws that criminalised same-sex relationships, marking a win for the LGBTQ community.

The high court in Windhoek deemed the crimes of “sodomy” and “unnatural sexual offences” unconstitutional and invalid, a decision celebrated by LGBTQ rights groups.

We are not persuaded that in a democratic society such as ours… it is reasonably justifiable to make an activity criminal just because a segment, maybe a majority, of the citizenry consider it to be unacceptable,” the judges wrote.

The ruling overturned rarely enforced laws from 1927, which Namibia kept after gaining independence from South Africa in 1990.

Because of this decision, I no longer feel like a criminal on the run in my own country simply because of who I am, said Friedel Dausab, the activist who brought the case.

The London-based Human Dignity Trust called the ruling “historic.”

“LGBT Namibians can now look to a brighter future,” said its chief executive, Tea Braun.

The verdict came amid growing intolerance towards LGBTQ rights in southern Africa.

While a few African countries have legalised same-sex relationships, South Africa remains the only African nation that allows gay marriage, which was legalised in 2006.

The United Nations AIDS programmes, UNAIDS, said the ruling was a “significant victory for equality and human rights.”

“This decision… is a powerful step towards a more inclusive Namibia,” said Anne Githuku-Shongwe, UNAIDS regional director for East and Southern Africa.

 

Source: AFP

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