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Monday, 24 August 2009

Senegal: Free the Men Arrested for Homosexuality in Darou Mousty


Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

On June 19, 2009, four men from the city of Darou Mousty, in the department of Kébémer in the Louga region, were arrested and subsequently detained at a police station in the city. These four men were arrested for alleged sexual acts “against nature.” There are also reports that the police forced these men to reveal the names of people who are supposedly “homosexual.” The week of August 10, 2009, two of the men were convicted of “unnatural” offenses, despite the only evidence against them being denunciations from townspeople. One man received a sentence of 2 years in prison and the other 5 years. A third man, who is seventeen years old, will stand trial August 24, 2009 in a court for minors. The status of the fourth is unknown.

Senegal is one of the few francophone African countries that criminalizes homosexuality, under Article 319 of the Senegalese Penal Code. Last year, nine members of AIDES Senegal were arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison for “indecent conduct and unnatural acts” and “conspiracy.” The Court of Appeals in Dakar overturned the sentences in April 2009.

Laws criminalizing and detentions of people because of consensual sex between persons of the same sex are arbitrary and violate international law. Such laws violate Articles 2 and 26 on the rights to equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, and privacy of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as stated in Toonen v. Australia (1994) and by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In addition, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated its concern over laws that criminalize “homosexual relations, including those of persons under 18 years old” as being impermissible discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (General Comments 3 & 4, Concluding Observations: Chile, April 2007).

The criminalization of consensual same sex relations runs counter to the guarantees of nondiscrimination and equality before the law in Articles 2, 3, and 28 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Article 7 of the Senegalese Constitution.

More information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in Senegal.

Take action

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) in calling on the Senegalese government to release the men convicted, to not convict the 17-year-old awaiting trial, and to end the pattern of systemic persecution against perceived sexual minorities by repealing Article 319.

Click here to send a letter of protest to the Senegalese authorities.

Contacts:

Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic

Avenue Léopold Sédar Senghor BP 4026
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone : (221) 33 880 80 80

Mr. Souleymane Ndéne Ndiaye, Prime Minister

Building Administratif - 9e étage - BP 4029,
Dakar, Senegal
Fax: (221) 33 823 44 79
Email: Premier.ministre@primature.sn

Mr. Pape Diop, President of the Senate

52, rue Mouhamed V
Dakar, Sénégal
3131 DK.RP
Fax: (221) 33 821 16 52
Email: info@senat.sn

Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Sy, Minister of the Interior

Pl. Washington - Bd de la République BP 4002,
Dakar, Senegal
Fax: (221) 33 821 0542

Mr. Madické Niang, Minister of Justice

Building Administratif 7e étage BP 4030
Dakar, Senegal
Fax: (221) 33 823 2727

Mr. Paul Badji, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Senegal to the United Nations

238 E 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Fax: +1 212 517 3032
Email: Senegal.mission@yahoo.fr

Mr. Amadou Lamine Ba, Ambassador of the Embassy of Senegal to the USA

2112 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington D.C., 20008
Fax: +1 202 332 6315
Email: contact@ambasenegal-us.org, alsarba@yahoo.com

Mr. Ousmane Camara, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Senegal to the United Nations in Geneva

93, rue de la Servette
1202 Genève, Switzerland
Fax: (+41 22) 740 0711
Email:mission.senegal@ties.itu.int

CC : communications+action.alert@iglhrc.org


Suggested letter

Your Excellencies:

I am writing to express my concern and disappointment over the recent reports of the arrests of June 19, 2009 and the convictions of the week of August 10, 2009 of four men in the town of Darou Mousty in Louga for alleged homosexual acts. A third man, who is seventeen years old, will stand trial August 24, 2009 in a court for minors. These men were targets of persecution because of their perceived sexual orientations and were convicted without evidence beyond denunciations. There are also reports that they were forced by the police to denounce others.

I call on you to support the release of all these men just as the Court of Appeal in Dakar did in April 2009 when it released the nine men arrested and convicted under Article 319 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes consensual sex between persons of the same sex. Due process and equality before the law are fundamental commitments that Senegal has enshrined in Articles 7 and 9 of its Constitution and in other laws, and must be respected for all people, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

I also call on you to repeal Article 319. The criminalization and detention of people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation is arbitrary and violates international and African law. Laws criminalizing consensual homosexual sex violate Articles 2 and 26 on the rights to equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, and privacy of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as stated by the Human Rights Committee in Toonen v. Australia (1994) and by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In addition, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated its concern over laws that criminalize “homosexual relations, including those of persons under 18 years old” as being impermissible discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (General Comments 3 & 4, Concluding Observations: Chile, April 2007). The criminalization of consensual same sex relations also runs counter to the guarantees of nondiscrimination and equality before the law in Articles 2, 3, and 28 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

The arrest and conviction of these men is an instance of the systemic persecution sexual minorities and their defenders in Senegal. To ensure the human rights of all people, this law must be repealed and the people it targets must be protected from discrimination and abuse.

Sincerely,

Name:
Organization:
Country:

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