Chad: Proposed anti-gay law will fuel homophobia

A draft Bill will fuel homophobia and represents a major backwards step for human rights in Chad if passed into law, Amnesty International said today.

Amendments to the penal code proposed by the government would criminalize same sex conduct in Chad, threatening jail sentences of between 15 and 20 years, and a fine of between CFA francs 50,000 to 500,000 ($100 and $1000.) 

“The criminalization of individuals based solely on their sexual orientation and gender identity violates Chad’s international and regional human rights obligations, and is a big step back for tolerance and respect for human rights in the country,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

“Amnesty International has analyzed the draft Bill. The vagueness of the proposed provision is also deeply worrying – people could be investigated and prosecuted based on homosexuality, on a denunciation or rumour alone. People who are perceived to be gay or don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes will not be able to live their lives with equality and dignity.”

“If this Bill is passed in its current form, Chad will have a discriminatory penal code that violates the rights of these individuals and fuel homophobia. Both the government and parliament must ensure that any law adopted respects fundamental human rights principles, including non-discrimination and equality for all.”

In a worrying trend, the draft Bill in Chad comes just weeks after Gambian lawmakers proposed legislation that would introduce sentences up to life imprisonment for what they defined as “aggravated homosexuality.”