Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Rwanda considering outlawing homosexuality

Rwandan lawmakers are considering making homosexuality illegal in their country, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Article 217 of the African country’s draft Penal Code Act currently says that anybody “who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice” could go to prison for five to 10 years and be fined from 200,000 to 1 million Rwanda francs (or $350 to $1,754), according to the rights commission.

An official at the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C., said that no one was available to verify or discuss the article.

The proposal comes amidst controversy over lawmakers in Rwanda’s neighbor Uganda also proposing to criminalize homosexuality.

Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies – the lower house of Parliament – was to vote on the draft code yesterday [Wednesday, December 16].

However, in an e-mail, Hossein Alizadeh, the rights commission’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator wrote, “The vote on penal code in Rwanda did not take place yesterday as scheduled. We got unofficial reports about the possibility of the vote being taking place next week.”

If the deputies approve, the draft code will likely go before the Rwandan Senate in early 2010, according to the rights commission.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 17, 2009 @ 12:42 pm PST
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