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Thursday, 24 February 2011

African nation to decriminalise gay sex

Map of São Tomé and PríncipeImage via Wikipedia
Source: Pink Paper

By Rex Wockner

São Tomé and Príncipe, an island nation located off the west coast of Africa, will decriminalise gay sex in upcoming revisions to its Criminal Code.

The news was announced by representatives at the country's United Nations Universal Periodic Review session on 31 January.

"Obviously there is a concern about sexual relations between persons of the same sex in our country," the delegation said. "Currently the Criminal Code goes back a very long way when the situation was entirely different and so the courts actually don't apply the penalty anymore. So, despite what's there in the text of the law, it's not applicable because it runs counter to constitutional principles. The new Criminal Code which we're drawing up does not penalize sexual relations between persons of the same sex."

The new code should be in place within four months, the delegation said.

The Micronesian nation of Nauru reportedly made a similar pledge days earlier at its UPR session.

The Universal Periodic Review, a project of the U.N. Human Rights Council, officially analyses the human-rights record of each of the 192 U.N. member nations on a rotating basis once every four years, and urges reviewed nations to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
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