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Senegal’s Parliament rejects bill to increase penalties for homosexuality

‘We don’t need a law based on emotions that fills up our prisons

This article first appeared May 6th on It was translated into English from the website of  the French  LGBTQ rights group Stop Homophobie : It was written by MOÏSE MANOËL-FLORISSE

Macky Sall (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Senegal President Macky Sall (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

On Friday, April 28, Senegal’s Parliament rejected a series of proposals, including a text that would toughen the criminalization of homosexuality, already punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine (Article 319 of the Penal Code, dating from 1966).

The initiative was supported by the opposition, which denounced “a mechanical majority blockade” after years of advocacy and intense lobbying by religious groups, including “And Samm Jikko” (“Together to Safeguard Values”). Founded by the Islamist [advocacy group] Jamra, the group called for a new law against what it considers “unnatural” acts.

But, as stated by the office of the Assembly, since the acts in question are already banned, this bill, which is “insignificant in reality”, is “inadmissible”. “It brings nothing to the public debate”, and if it had been voted, “it would have no impact”, on the contrary. And it is “neither courageous nor relevant” to do so, given the social situation of the country.

“We don’t need a law based on emotions that fills up our prisons,” insisted a legislator from President Macky Sall’s majority party.

Parliament had already rejected a similar bill in January 2022, which would have doubled the penalties for homosexuality from 5 to 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to 5 million CFA francs (more than 6,600 euros) and without the possibility of exceptions for mitigating circumstances. The text also targeted “lesbianism, bisexuality, transsexuality, intersexuality, zoophilia, necrophilia…” as similar practices.

The Parliament Building in Dakar, Senegal  (Photo courtesy of  @aly_ngouille_ndiaye)

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