Foreign Office: India recriminalising homosexuality was ‘unexpected’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A report from the Foreign Office says India’s recriminalisation of homosexuality was ‘unexpected’.

In December, India’s Supreme Court opted to reinstate Section 377 of the Penal Code, a colonial-era regulation which bans “sex against the order of nature”, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

According to the Human Rights and Democracy Report, published today, the Foreign Office is following the situation closely, but states that “India’s democratic institutions [should] work through this issue”.

It said: “In India, we are closely following developments on the Indian Supreme Court decision, which reinstated a law that criminalised homosexuality.

“This ruling was unexpected. There has been widespread public criticism of the decision within India.

“It is important that India’s democratic institutions work through this issue, taking account of the fact that to render consenting same-sex relations illegal is incompatible with international human rights conventions, including the ICCPR.”

In the report, the Foreign Office also ‘expressed concern’ over anti-gay laws in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria.

The UN Commissioner for Human Rights said in December that Section 377 violates international law, and that it “represents a significant step backwards for India and a blow for human rights.”