Homosexuality is still banned in many countries worldwide and gay people are often jailed, tortured and even sentenced to death because of their sexual orientation. IBTimes UK spoke with human rights activist Olumide Makanjuola on anti-gay laws in West Africa and how the international community can effectively help eradicate homophobia.
Among other things, Makanjuola explained that homophobia stems from cultural, religious and historical factors that differ from country to country. Thus, the international community should understand the context of each nation that criminalises homosexuality to successfully help in the fight against homophobia.
Which countries in West Africa criminalises homosexuality?
- Nigeria: Nigerians involved in a gay marriage or civil union face imprisonment for up to 14 years under the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill signed into law by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
- Algeria: Gay people face jail sentences of between two months and three years, fines of up to 2,000 Algerian Dinars (£12).
- Morocco: Moroccan laws punish "unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex" with up to three years' imprisonment and a fine of up to 1,200 dirhams (£211).
- Togo: People involved in same-sex union face up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to 500,000 CFA francs (£543).
- Mauritania: Muslim homosexual men face stoning to death while lesbians face imprisonment. The country declared it has not executed people for being homosexuals since 1990.
- Guinea: Gay people face jail sentences for up to three years and a fine of up to 1,000,000 Guinean francs (£89).
- Ghana: Gay men can be jailed for "not less than five years and not more than 25 years" . It is not clear whether gay women face imprisonment.
- Gambia: The criminal code penalises "unnatural offences" with imprisonment for a term of 14 years for both men and women.
- Sierra Leone: Gay men face life imprisonment while female same-sex activity is legal.
- Liberia: Both gay men and women face imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of LBR$1,000 (£7).
- Senegal:Both gay men and women face imprisonment for up to five year and a fine.