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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Congo homosexuality criminalisation bill delayed, not dead

DRC, orthographic projection.Image via Wikipedia  
Source: African Activist

The Congolese Parliament sent a bill that would criminalise homosexuality to the Socio-Cultural Committee on 22 October 2010. In a Behind the Mask interview with Jean Bedel Kaniki of Hirondelles Bukavu, an LGBTI organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it does not appear that the bill was considered by the session of Parliament ending 15 March 2011. Kaniki predicts that it will be debated in Parliament in June.
Behind the Mask is aware that the bill was not debated by the Socio-cultural Committee during the last and current session of parliament.

Kaniki said it is unlikely that it will be debated during the current session of parliament that ends on the 15 March 2011 since “there have been more pressing issues debated during the last and current sessions of parliament. My prediction is that it will be debated during the next session that will start in June this year.”

“If nothing is done, considering the support the bill has received in the public opinion, the parliament will probably pass the law that criminalizes homosexuality. Elections are around the corner; therefore the vote of the parliament will depend on the role that law could play in political campaign and calculation. “

The Sexual Practices Against Nature Bill will, if passed, criminalize homosexuality and sexual practices with animals such as zoophilia and bestiality

It will also criminalise any activities that promote the rights of LGBTI persons. Section 174h3 of the Bill stipulates that, “all publications, posters, pamphlets, (or) films highlighting or likely to arouse or encourage sexual practices against nature are forbidden within the territory of the DRC and “all associations that promote or defend sexual relations against nature are forbidden within the territory of the DRC.”

Any offender contravening this Bill will be punished by 3 to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of 500,000 Congolese francs (Section 174h1).
Hirondelles Bukavu has struggled to raise funds to challenge this bill in DRC.
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