Senegal: Justice Minister rules out legalising homosexuality despite previous gay rights support

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Senegal’s New Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba has ruled out legalising homosexuality in the country despite previously being a gay rights supporter and activist.

Kaba, who was previously the head of the International Federation for Human Rights, told reporters on Friday that he had dropped his opposition to the persecution of gay and lesbian people.

He said: “I am a minister of justice who works in the context of a government and who expresses his views through those of the head of state which apply to all those who serve under him.”

Senegal’s President Macky Sall recently sacked the previous prime minister and the entire of his previous cabinet,  Kaba was picked to be justice minister by the new prime minister.

As the previous head of the International Federation for Human Rights, Kaba stirred up controversy in 2009 when he called for homosexuality to legalised throughout the country.

However it would appear that  Kaba has reversed his stance telling reporters on Thursday: “I was expressing the position of my organisation.”

President Sall earlier this year rebuked US President Barack Obama called for tolerance when he visited the country earlier this year. Mr Sall replied to Mr Obama by saying that: “We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality. I’ve already said it in the past. We’re still not ready to change the law. This does not mean that we are all homophobic.”

Amnesty International have called on countries in Africa to tackle the suffering and homophobia faced by LGBT people. 
As is the case throughout most of Africa, the situation for LGBT people in Senegal remains perilous.

Same-sex relationships are banned in the country and the maximum custodial sentence is five years imprisonment.