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Report: The State of Human Rights for LGBTQ People in Africa

Filed under: International

Updated July 29, 2014

Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people throughout Africa face the threat of harassment, discrimination, prosecution, and violence on a daily basis, and others remain vulnerable to increasingly dangerous and concerted efforts to stoke state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.

This joint report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Human Rights First surveys 54 African nations and provides a brief overview of: existing anti-LGBTQ laws and efforts to enact new measures; publicly known instances of discrimination and violence; the presence and activity of LGBTQ rights organizations; and encouraging signs of support for LGBTQ people. The information within was drawn from press reports, the text of legislation, the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights reports as well as the 2014 State-Sponsored Homophobia Report of ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), authored by Lucas PaoliItaborahy and Zhingshu Zhu and edited by Aengus Carroll. Although limited progress is being made in some nations, the situation for LGBTQ Africans in many others remains dire and is growing increasingly perilous.

Key Findings:

  • 37 African nations criminalize same-sex relationships

  • 4 African nations allow for the death penalty against LGBTQ people in all or some of the country

  • 2 African nations, Nigeria and Uganda, have implemented new laws in the last 12 months

  • 2 African nations have laws against LGBTQ “propaganda”

  • 1 African nation grants full marriage equality and constitutional discrimination protection to its LGBTQ citizens

Download the full report