In a new report by Amnesty International, the human rights organization confirms disturbing news: homophobia is dramatically increasing in Africa, as its governments are criminalizing LGBT relationships through new laws and harsh penalties.
“These poisonous laws must be repealed and the human rights of all Africans upheld,” they said in a statement.
“In some African countries political leaders target sexual orientation issues to distract attention from their overall human rights records, often marked by rampant discrimination and violence against women, corruption and lack of media freedoms.”
With 39 sub-Saharan African countries outlawing homosexuality, Africa is reaching “dangerous levels” for LGBT citizens.
While South Sudan and Burundi introduced new laws criminalizing LGBT relationships, Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria worked to intensify penalties. Additionally, in Cameroon, LGBT citizens suffer police abuse and are forced to submit to anal exams.
According to a poll by NOIS Polls Limited, 92 percent of Nigerians support legislation criminalizing marriage equality. Like most Africans, Nigerians believe “homosexuality is not part of the culture.”
With many laws adopted during English colonial periods, religious groups from the US “actively fund and promote homophobia in Africa.”
The penalty for same-sex sexual activity in the country has existed since British colonial rule and ranges from a 14-year prison sentence to the death penalty.
South Africa is the only African country to legalize marriage equality and promote LGBT rights; unfortunately, even there anti-LGBT hate crimes, including murders, have been increasing.