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One-third of world still criminalizes consensual same-sex acts: report

By Agence France-Presse Published May 30, 2024 7:36 pm

The LGBTQ community faces "relentless opposition" across the globe despite some progress, said a report published on Thursday by an international advocacy group, with one-third of the world still criminalizing same-sex acts.

Sixty-two of the United Nations' 193 member states have laws punishing consensual same-sex relations, while the death penalty exists in some form in a dozen countries, according to the report covering the past 16 months released by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

One-third of countries also have legal roadblocks to operating organizations "openly advocating the rights of LGBTI people", said ILGA. It said this gives rise to censorship, arrests, and prosecution for the "promotion" of homosexuality.

"This trend is extremely concerning," said ILGA director Julia Ehrt.

Last year, Uganda implemented one of the harshest anti-gay laws in the world, imposing penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations and making "aggravated homosexuality" an offense punishable by death. 

And between January 2023 and April 2024, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Uganda formally implemented legal provisions against the "promotion" of homosexuality, while Russia has categorized the "international LGBT movement" as "extremist."

"Even talking about our lives in public is becoming increasingly difficult in a growing number of states," said Ehrt.

This report comes as violence and harassment against LGBTQ people in Europe have reached a "new high" in the past few years, according to a May survey from the European Union's rights agency.

ILGA notes some progress for LGBTQ rights in the past 16 months, with four UN member states authorizing same-sex marriage, bringing the total to 35 UN countries and Taiwan.

Bolivia and Latvia legalized civil unions, a move repeated in several Japanese prefectures. 

And in five countries—Germany, Ecuador, Spain, Finland and New Zealand— individuals can now have their self-identified gender on their official documents, bringing the total number of countries to 17.

But even with these changes, ILGA said, "relentless opposition is marring the progress made in equal rights for LGBTI people" around the world. (AFP)