by Rex Wockner
Senegal’s law criminalizing adult gay sex contributes to anti-gay abuse by police and the public, Human Rights Watch said in a 95-page report issued Nov. 30.
The African nation’s Penal Code Article 319.3 punishes “unnatural” sexual acts with five years in prison.
“While the law ostensibly criminalizes conduct, not character, it is in fact used as a tool for targeting certain ‘types’ of individuals,” HRW said.
The report explores “the manipulation of public sentiment by some Senegalese political and religious leaders who have been instrumental in creating a climate of virulent homophobia,” the group said. “It also documents the prominent, one-sided, and at times hate-mongering coverage by many Senegalese media outlets.”
The report, “Fear for Life: Violence Against Gay Men and Men Perceived as Gay in Senegal,” includes interviews with dozens of people who have faced threats and violence at the hands of police and others. It is online at http://www.hrw.org/node/94451.