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Namibia Court Declares Same-Sex Acts Constitutional, Nullifies Colonial-Era Laws

A High Court in Namibia on Friday declared as unconstitutional two colonial-era laws that criminalised same-sex acts between men. 

The historic court ruling on Friday has been held as landmark and a significant victory for the LGBTQ community in Namibia.

According to African News, the case was initiated by a Namibian activist, Friedel Dausab, with support from the UK-based Human Dignity Trust. Following the court’s decision, Dausab expressed his joy, stating, “It’s a great day for Namibia. It won’t be a crime to love anymore.”

Rights activists have noted that, although prosecutions under the “sodomy” and “unnatural sexual offences” laws were infrequent, these laws have fostered ongoing discrimination against the LGBTQ community and instilled fear of arrest among gay men.

Namibia inherited the laws when it gained independence from South Africa in 1990, though same-sex acts between men were initially criminalised under colonial rule.

South Africa has since decriminalised same-sex sexual activity and is the only country on the African continent to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt children, marry and enter civil unions.

Last year, Uganda enacted one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, which included the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, despite widespread condemnations from the West.

In Ghana for instance, many are speaking out against a dangerous anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bill.

In February this year, Ghana’s parliament passed a bill, which toughens criminal penalties for consensual same-sex relations, and criminalizes the actions of individuals and organizations that defend the rights of LGBT people.”

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