Calls to descriminalise homosexuality in Malaiw have been reignited, as a renowned gay rights campaigner, Gift Trapence has urged Malawi to show “commitment to universal human rights” by emulating Uganda’s constitutional court which recently quashed anti-gay law.
The Ugandan top court nullified legislation signed by long-serving President Yoweri Museveni that made homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison, citing a lack of quorum of lawmakers for its adoption.
Trapence, director of the Centre for the Development of the People (CEDEP), said Malawi should decriminalize same-sex relationships and fight discrimination against n lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people.
He celebrated the Ugandan court decision, hailing it as a “victory to equality and justice for all.”
Trapence called for more efforts to decriminalize same-sex relationships “ in a democratic society such as Malawi”, saying government should stop prosecuting and jailing people for their sexual orientation.
He reiterates that everyone is entitled to enjoy the same basic rights and live a life of worth and dignity without discrimination, as affirmed in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Malawi Constitution and the recent resolution of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on protection against violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity.
Homosexuality is considered taboo and is illegal in Malawi with custodial sentences of up to 14 years imprisonment.
However, there is debate on whether the country should change scrap laws that criminalises homosexuality.
New Malawi President Peter Mutharika has remained largely silent on the subject.