10 African countries with the longest prison sentences for homosexuality

10 African countries with the longest prison sentences for homosexuality
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10 African countries with the longest prison sentences for homosexuality

The scrutiny and discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community in several African countries is one of the most glaring in the world. Most of Africa still has a very low tolerance level for the group. Many LGBTQ+ people are abandoned by their families, and rejected by society. Discrimination against homosexuals cuts across society, permeating from major institutions such as churches, mosques, and schools.

  • Business Insider Africa presents the 10 African countries with the longest prison sentences for homosexuality.
  • This list is courtesy of the BBC.
  • Several countries on the list hand out life-in-prison sentences for homosexuality.

Many African countries have strict laws against same-sex unions. These laws frequently carry harsh punishments, including lengthy jail terms and, in some circumstances, the death penalty. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is aggressively implemented in countries such as Nigeria and Uganda.

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Beyond legal obstacles, deeply held cultural and religious beliefs contribute to prejudice against LGBTQ+ people. Many African communities are conservative, having conventional views on gender and sexuality. Homosexuality is frequently regarded as a taboo, an offense to cultural and moral standards. In many areas, LGBTQ+ persons endure social exclusion, harassment, and violence.

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Religious leaders in both Christian and Muslim societies routinely denounce homosexuality. Regardless, of these obstacles, there is a rising movement of LGBTQ+ activists and allies across Africa calling for change.

International pressure and assistance can also influence tolerance. Global human rights groups and foreign governments often speak against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and campaign for the protection of LGBTQ+ rights throughout Africa, as was the case with Uganda’s new anti-gay laws.

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Despite this, homosexuality is still widely frowned upon in most African countries and can lead to severe legal punishments.

A report by BBC revealed that 64 countries have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and nearly half of these are in Africa.

“Some countries, including several in Africa, have recently moved to decriminalize same-sex unions and improve rights for LGBTQ people. But there are countries where existing laws outlawing homosexuality have been tightened, including Nigeria and Uganda,” the report reads.

With that said here are the 10 African countries with the longest max prison sentences for homosexuality, according to the ILGA database. According to the database, of Africa’s 54 countries, 30 criminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts, and in some areas, the death penalty still exists.

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10 African countries with the longest prison sentences for homosexuality

RankCountryJail term
1.GambiaLife in prison
2.Sierra LeoneLife in prison
3.SudanLife in prison
4.TanzaniaLife in prison
5.UgandaLife in prison
6.ZambiaLife in prison
7.Nigeria21 years
8.Kenya14 years
9.Malawi14 years
10.South Sudan10 years


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