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Namibian Court Abolishes Laws Criminalizing Same-Sex Intercourse

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The High Court of Namibia has struck down two colonial-era laws that criminalized same-sex acts between men, marking a significant triumph for the LGBTQ community in the country.

The ruling, delivered on Friday, June 21, has been hailed as a major step forward for human rights and equality in Namibia.

The case was brought forward by Namibian activist Friedel Dausab, with the support of the UK-based Human Dignity Trust. Dausab expressed his joy and relief at the court’s decision, stating, “It’s a great day for Namibia. It won’t be a crime to love anymore.”

The two laws in question, which dated back to the colonial era, criminalized “sodomy” and “unnatural sexual offenses.”

Although prosecutions under these laws were rare, they perpetuated discrimination and fear among gay men in Namibia.

The laws were inherited from South Africa, the country’s former colonial ruler, when Namibia gained independence in 1990.

Namibia’s decision to decriminalize same-sex acts follows in the footsteps of South Africa, which has been a leader in LGBTQ rights on the African continent. South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006 and allows LGBTQ couples to adopt children and enter civil unions.

In contrast, many other African countries have laws that criminalize same-sex relationships, with some imposing harsh penalties, including imprisonment and even death.

Uganda, for example, enacted one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ laws last year, which includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Ghana has also passed a bill that toughens criminal penalties for consensual same-sex relations and criminalizes the actions of individuals and organizations that defend LGBTQ rights.

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