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04/19/2007


European Court of Human Rights: Persecuted Gays from Africa Have Grounds for Asylum

Africa

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that persecuted gays in African have grounds for asylum, offering an opinion in a case brought by The Netherlands concerning three gay citizens from Uganda, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, the BBC reports:

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) says asylum can be granted in cases where people are actually jailed for homosexuality in their home country. ECJ rulings apply to all EU members.

Homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, including key Western allies such as Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana. In June a report by Amnesty International said homophobic attacks had reached dangerous levels in sub-Saharan Africa and must stop.

The ECJ judgment on Thursday was a response to the Dutch Council of State, a top advisory body, which had asked whether homosexuals could be considered a "particular social group" and whether criminalisation and possible imprisonment amounted to persecution.

The ECJ says laws specifically targeting homosexuals do make them a separate group. But it is up to the national authorities - in this case the Netherlands - to determine "whether, in the applicant's country of origin, the term of imprisonment... is applied in practice".


Islamic Groups Protest LGBT Rights in Sierra Leone, Promise Biweekly Demonstrations

Anti-gay groups in Sierra Leone are promising bi-weekly protests in reaction to growing pushes for LGBT rights in the region and efforts by Western politicians to enforce the human rights of LGBT people in African nations, Africa Review reports:

SierraleoneClose to 1,000 protesters thronged the streets at the east end of Freetown attracting scores of onlookers on the process who cheered them on.

The post Friday prayer demonstration was organised by the Inveterate International Islamic Revitalists, who said they were worried that persistent pronouncements from major powers could influence the country`s politicians to recognise “alien” and “immoral” practices in the country.

The organisers say the protests will be a bi-weekly affair.

Sheikh Marrah, one of the leaders of the protesters, referred to a recent statement by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who said US would use aide to encourage the respect of the rights of gays and lesbians.


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