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Senegal Criminalises Homosexuality

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Senegal’s president Macky Sall on Wednesday defended the country’s criminalisation of homosexuality, telling visiting Canadian prime minister that ‘we’re comfortable with our laws’.

The exchange between Justin Trudeau and Sall highlighted the impasse the United States, Canada and other Western nations have had in persuading Senegal and most African countries not to jail gays and lesbians.

Trudeau told journalists he was “a great defender of human rights” and so had to raise the issue.

“We’ve talked about it, and we know that Senegal is a leader in terms of democracy and in terms of values. But we all have work to do. In any case, we’ve had good discussions with Macky Sall,” Trudeau said at a new conference in the capital of Dakar.

‘Not in Senegal’

Senegal is a moderate, predominantly Muslim nation where homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by up to five years in prison. Prosecution are rare but discrimination in the country’s traditional communities runs deep. The bodies of gay men have even been dug out of Muslim cemeteries after their families had laid them to rest there.

The Senegalese president said his country respected human rights but he emphasized that no changes on laws regarding homosexuality would be forthcoming.

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