HRC Blog

Seychelles Promises to Decriminalize Same-Sex Conduct

international flagsPost submitted by Ashley Fowler, Global Engagement Program Assistant 

Seychelles, the 155-island African nation, is moving forward with reviewing its law that prohibits same-sex conduct.

In 2011, government representatives promised to repeal the law when its human rights record was review by the UN. The law, stipulating that same-sex conduct is punishable with up to 14 years in prison, is similar to numerous other laws criminalizing homosexuality throughout Africa

However, despite this promise to repeal the discriminatory law, no official action was taken until just recently when the Judicial College invited members of the public to discuss the “discrimination of gay people, marriage equality and morality” at a forum on August 11.

The law is now under judicial review to determine whether the penal provision discriminates against LGBT people and therefore violates the Seychelles constitution, which clearly states that “all persons must be free from discrimination on all grounds.”

Though it is reported that there are no active LGBT organizations in the country, the Seychelles have several other laws that prevent discrimination against the LGBT community. For example, the country’s employment law protects workers on the basis of sexual orientation.

Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sandra Michel, claimed “the change of relevant laws would come pretty soon, as the government and civil society want so.” Repeal of the law would bring the number of countries with laws that criminalize individual for same-sex conduct down to 77. 

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