On Wednesday January 5, the Parliament of Senegal rejected a bill toughening the repression of homosexuality. Text has been declared “Inadmissible” at a preliminary stage of the process, that of the office of the National Assembly, without even reaching the plenary session.
Senegalese law already punishes homosexuality, including with prison terms. The text carried by eleven deputies, including at least one from the majority of President Macky Sall, proposed to make it more rigorous. Its initiators say it is supported by leaders and religious associations, influential in this 95% Muslim country, where homosexuality is widely viewed as deviance.
The office of the National Assembly invoked in a statement that the Penal Code already punishes “Severely” homosexuality as well as “All acts against nature and indecent assault”. He judges “Relevant” the position defended by the Head of State and the Senegalese authorities, who refuse any decriminalization and legalization of homosexuality.
Macky Sall, whose country is often cited as an example of rule of law in Africa, has always invoked Senegalese cultural specificities to refuse a decriminalization of homosexuality, including in front of foreign leaders. “For all these reasons, the office of the National Assembly […] has decided to declare this bill inadmissible ”, the statement said.
A context of pre-election campaign
The existing law states that “Will be punished by imprisonment from one to five years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 CFA francs [de 152 à 2 286 euros] anyone who has committed an indecent or unnatural act with an individual of his sex “.
The text rejected on Wednesday proposed to modify this paragraph 3 of article 319 of the Penal Code to now punish “A sentence of five to ten years imprisonment and a fine of 1 million to 5 million CFA francs, without the possibility of granting mitigating circumstances, anyone who has been found guilty of acts against nature”. In addition to homosexuality, the proposal aimed “Lesbianism, bisexuality, transsexuality, intersexuality, bestiality, necrophilia and other similar practices”.
The text came from the collective And Samm Jikko (“Together for the safeguarding of values”, in Wolof), composed of“Senegalese associations of all stripes which have assumed their responsibilities”, declared the deputy Mamadou Lamine Diallo, at the head of the parliamentarians promoting the proposal. This had been filed in a context of pre-election campaign, before the municipal and departmental elections of January 23.
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In Senegal, the Parliament rejects a text toughening the repression of homosexuality