Amnesty urges President of Chad to scrap anti-gay bill

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

In a letter to the President of Chad, Amnesty International has warned that passing a bill which criminalises homosexuality would show a “blatant disregard” for the country’s human rights obligations.

The African country – which has never previously banned homosexuality – is considering amending its penal code to ban same-sex sexual activity.

It is yet to go before the country’s parliament, but given rising anti-gay sentiment in the nation is expected to pass.

Section 361 of the code bans same-sex actual activity for both men and women, and can lead to 15 to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 (£60) to 500,000 CFA francs (£600).

The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has been called upon by Amnesty International to prevent the bill’s passage into law.

Secretary General Salil Shetty said: “If this homophobic bill becomes law, President Deby will be blatantly disregarding the country’s international and regional human rights obligations.

“He will deny people their right to privacy, will institutionalise discrimination and enable the stigmatization, harassment and policing of people who are, or are perceived to be gay – regardless of their sexual behaviour.

“President Idriss Deby must immediately intervene and stop this bill to ensure that people are not placed at increased risk of violence and abuse because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and are instead able to live in equality, dignity and without fear.”

The state claims the law was tabled to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society”.

Last month, Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights also called on the President to act before it is too late.

He said: “By criminalising homosexuality, Chad’s proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice.

“I urge president Déby and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.”

A law was passed by the Gambian National Assembly last month, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” It is yet to be signed by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.