Despite significant progress on gay rights worldwide, dozens of countries still criminalize consensual same-sex activities, including six, where being gay is punishable by death, activists said on Tuesday, according to AFP.
In a new report, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) found “considerable progress” in legal protections for LGBTI people around the world.
Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, which created significant additional challenges for LGBTI and other minority communities, “positive developments have occurred,” the organization said.
But while the trend is toward acceptance, 69 UN member states continue to criminalize consensual sex between people of the same sex, according to the report.
That’s one less than last year, after Gabon stepped back from a 2019 law – “the shortest-running law of its kind in modern history”, said ILGA research coordinator and lead author Lucas Ramon Mendos in a statement.
More urgently than the book laws, ILGA found that 34 countries – more than half of those with criminalization laws – have actively applied them in the past five years.
The report warned that the actual number could be “much higher”.
“Wherever these provisions are in the books, people can be reported and arrested at any time, even under suspicion of having sex with someone of the same sex”, said Mendos.
“Courts prosecute and sentence them to prison, public flogging or even death”, he said.
In six UN member states, the death penalty is the legally prescribed punishment for consensual homosexual sex: Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as well as in 12 northern Nigeria states.
And the report said that sources indicated that the death penalty could potentially be used in these cases in five other countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates – although there was less legal certainty.