Namibia: Court overturns 100-year-old anti-homosexual law

Namibia: Court overturns 100-year-old anti-homosexual law
Namibia: Court overturns 100-year-old anti-homosexual law

In many African countries, especially in the east of the continent, politics rigorously suppresses homosexuals. There is now a ray of hope in Namibia – here the ban dating back to German colonial times has been lifted.

The High Court in Namibia declared a colonial-era law banning homosexual relationships invalid on Friday. The punishments for same-sex sex are unconstitutional, said the court in Namibia’s capital Windhoek. In a democratic society, it is not justifiable that an activity is considered criminal “just because a part or perhaps a majority of citizens do not accept it,” the reasoning continued.

German “sodomy law” banned homosexual acts for almost 100 years

The so-called sodomy law, which prohibits sexual relations between homosexuals in Namibia, dates back to 1927, when the former German colony was under South African administration. It had not been changed since independence in 1990, but was rarely applied.

An activist from the Namibian LGBTQ+ community filed a lawsuit against the ban. Friedel Dausab demanded that all previous convictions under the law be overturned. After the decision, according to a statement from the Human Dignity Trust organization, he said: “This is a wonderful day for our democracy, our country and our constitution.” Now he no longer feels like a criminal in his own country, “because I am who I am.”

A historic day for Namibia

The London-based organisation praised the court decision as “historic”. “The LGBT+ community in Namibia can now look forward to a better future,” said Téa Braun, Director General of Human Dignity Trust. The English acronym LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

The Namibian court’s decision came against the backdrop of increasing intolerance towards members of the LGBTQ+ community in southern Africa. Only a few states have decriminalised same-sex relationships; South Africa is the only country on the continent where marriage for all has been legal since 2006.

Source: Stern

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