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UN expert calls to decriminalize gay sex worldwide by 2030

outside shot, four police in uniform stand over man who is sitting on the ground looking up at them, he is wearing a white t-shirt

The UN’s LGBT expert on Thursday (21 March) called on the world to end laws that criminalize LGBT people by 2030.

‘I don’t see why we shouldn’t ask to see a world free of criminalization by 2030’ Victor Madrigal told the International Gay and Lesbian and Transgender Association (ILGA) world conference in New Zealand.

Some 70 states worldwide criminalize same-sex consensual activity, according to an ILGA report released Wednesday.

‘Decriminalisation is not getting us from zero to one: it is getting us from minus one to zero’ Madrigal said.

‘There is no room to argue for legal justification of criminalization of same-sex relations’ he also said.

He fought back against some countries’ that have anti-gay laws but claim they are not implemented. He said people still used the laws to harass and threaten LGBTI people.

‘Criminalisation creates an incentive for persecution’ he argued.  He promised to engage states anti-gay laws.

‘Coalition is fundamental, not one state can do this alone’ Madrigal told the conference.

More than 500 people from 100 countries have gathered for the ILGA conference.

State-sponsored homophobia

ILGA released the 13th edition of its report into laws that affect LGBTI people world-wide this week.

It found that as of March 2019, 70 States continue to criminalize same-sex consensual activity.

Six UN member states impose the death penalty on consensual same-sex sexual acts. It is technically possible in another five states.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria all have the death penalty for gay sex.

In 26 other countries, the maximum penalty can vary between 10 years to life imprisonment.

At least 32 UN Member States have put in place provisions that limit people’s freedom of expression.

‘These are not just numbers, but laws that actually impact the daily lives of people of diverse sexual orientations around the world’ commented Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, Co-Secretaries General of ILGA.

The report includes some good news.

Three states decriminalized gay sex in recent years: India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Angola.

What’s more, nine countries’ constitutions now explicitly mention sexual orientation as a protected ground from discrimination.

Meanwhile, 39 States have laws that punish acts of incitement to hatred, discrimination or violence based on sexual orientation.

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Author: Rik Glauert