Read the op-ed Meanwhile, in Senegal by IGLHRC’s Cary Alan Johnson and Ryan Thoreson in MetroWeekly which contextualizes the vehement global response against the proposed Anti-Homosexuality bill in Uganda in light of other instances of grave human rights violations against LGBT people in Africa.
But while condemning new oppressive laws is important, it is just as important — and perhaps more pressing — to take measures to hold governments accountable for the daily violence and lifetimes of discrimination that LGBT people face in the more than 80 countries around the world that continue to criminalize homosexuality and the many more that impose penalties for those who challenge gender norms.
Take Senegal, for instance, where homosexuality has been illegal since 1965. The last two years have seen a dramatic escalation in homophobic persecution and violence, largely unnoticed by the international community and the world media. The country has experienced waves of arrests, detentions, and attacks on individuals by anti-gay mobs, fueled by media sensationalism and a harsh brand of religious fundamentalism. Police have rounded up men and women on charges of homosexuality, detained them under inhumane conditions, and sentenced them with or without proof of having committed any offense. Families and communities have turned on those suspected of being gay or lesbian. In cities throughout the county, the corpses of men presumed to have been gay have been disinterred and unceremoniously abandoned. As the international community has laudably warned Uganda on the progress of its nonsensical law, arrests on charges related to homosexuality in Senegal — five men in Darou Mousty in June, a man in Touba in November, and 24 men celebrating at a party in Saly Niax Niaxal on Christmas Eve — continue largely unnoticed.