Namibia moves to remove laws criminalising homosexual acts

Namibia’s Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab, has described the country’s colonial era legislation that outlaws homosexual acts as “outdated and discriminatory”.

“The LGBTQI community are human beings and we must not allow them being excluded from the bouquet of rights enunciated in our constitution,” Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“This sodomy law is outdated and discriminatory … All Namibians should enjoy life, dignity, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said.

The Minister said the laws outlawing homosexual acts were among a raft of outdated legislation that the cabinet was expected to discuss at its next meeting.

The country has been reviewing laws it has on its books that are no longer relevant or needed. Then a recent report into the laws about homosexuality revealed that 115 cases had been reported between 2003 and 2019.

The laws were adopted from a period where South Africa controlled the country, and the legislation originated from South Africa’s British colonial rule. Back in 2018 British Prime Minister Theresa May publicly apologised for the anti-gay and lesbian laws that Britain has spread across the globe, and encouraged countries where they were still on the books to remove them.

This week local LGBTQIA+ rights organisation Equal Namibia staged a protest march that took them through the streets to country’s parliament. Holding brooms high, they called on the government to “sweep out” the outdated laws.

The call to remove the laws has found support from the wife of the country’s President Hage Geingob. First lady Monica Geingos said its time for the laws to go.

“Scrap all obsolete laws and stop being homophobic,” Geingos said earlier this week. Her comments came after the youth leader of her husband’s ruling SWAPO party described homosexual sex as a “satanic and demonic practice”.

Ephraim Nekongo, the Secretary of the party’s youth branch, has urged the country’s parliament to ignore the issue of removing the laws and focus on more immediate concerns for the nation.

OIP Staff

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