Draconian draft anti-LGBTQI+ law blocked from being considered in National Assembly
As religious groups push for stiffer sentences for homosexuality, sexual minorities in #Senegal could face genocide, points out exiled #LGBTI activist - Souleyman Diouf, reports @VOANews: https://t.co/CrrCAcBGzR #IFEXgender @frankmugisha @NGLHRC— IFEX (@IFEX) February 27, 2022
Draconian draft anti-LGBTQI+ law rejected
On 6th January 2022, the Office of the National Assembly blocked a draconian anti-LGBTQI+ law from being considered in the National Assembly, as the Penal Code already criminalises homosexual acts. The bill, drafted by 11 lawmakers who attempted to table it in December 2021, would double prison sentences, to 10 years, for those convicted of “acts against nature” between people of the same sex and criminalise advocacy for LGBTQI+ rights. Currently, “unnatural acts” between persons of the same sex is already criminalised in article 219 of Senegal’s Penal Code, with prison sentences of up to five years. A Senegalese LGBTQI+ activist commented to Reuters on the attempt to introduce tougher anti-LGBTQI+ laws :
"When individual freedoms, in particular the most sacred - privacy between consenting adults - are attacked, then there is little time left to realise that democracy is in danger."
The draft law bears many similarities to Ghana's controversial draconian anti-LGBTQI+ draft law, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, which was introduced in the Ghanaian Parliament at the end of June 2021 by eight Members of Parliament.
On 20th February 2022, thousands of people gathered at the Place de l’Obélisque in Dakar to demand tougher anti-LGBTQI+ laws. The protest was reportedly organised by the group And Samm Jikko Yi (Together We Protect Our Values in Wolof), consisting of 125 local Islamic organisations.
Protest in solidarity with Mali against ECOWAS sanctions
On 28th January 2022, hundreds of people participated in a solidarity march at the Place de la Nation in Dakar, denouncing ECOWAS' harsh sanctions on Mali. Earlier in January 2022, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc imposed additional sanctions on Mali after military transitional authorities proposed that elections, which were to take place in February 2022 ending the transitional period following the August 2020 coup, would be postponed to December 2025. Additional sanctions include the closure of land and air borders, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions and the freezing of Malian state assets in ECOWAS central and commercial banks. The protest, organised by civil society groups, was authorised by local authorities and no incidents were reported.
Protesters demand an "independent justice system"
Hundreds of people gathered on 17th December 2021 in a protest organised by the movements Y’en a Marre and Frapp-France Dégage in Dakar. The protest, to demand an independent justice system, was authorised. A previous attempt to organise the protest on 10th December 2021 was banned by the prefect of Dakar. The protesters denounce what they call "two speeds" in the justice system, claiming members of the ruling coalition are treated differently than others when it comes to justice.
Protest against gender-based violence
At the call of the movement Marche blanche des femmes (White March of Women), hundreds of people, in white clothing, gathered in Dakar and in 13 other localities on 19th December 2021 to protest against gender-based violence and violence against children, while also denouncing how gender-based violence is trivialised in the media.
Civic Space Developments