UNAIDS launches legal challenge to Malawi’s ban on gay sex

The United Nations body tasked with tackling HIV around the world has announced it will join local activists and the Malawi Law Society in a court challenge to Malawi’s law criminalizing gay sex

UNAIDS launches legal challenge to Malawi’s ban on gay sex
22 January 2014

UNAIDS will join with local human rights activists and the Malawi Law Society to challenge Malawi’s anti-gay laws.

Malawi’s President Joyce Banda said her government would repeal her country’s colonial era sodomy law in May of 2012 and it did suspend the law in November of that year.

However by January of 2013 Banda had backed away from the reform after months of attacks on her government by Opposition MPs over the issue.

UNAIDS and local groups will take the matter before Malawi’s High Court on 17 March and will ask it to declare the country’s laws criminalizing homosexuals unconstitutional.

They will also challenge the convictions of three men who were convicted under the law in 2011 before its suspension.

‘Our argument is that as long as same-sex relationships are consensual and done in private no one has business to get bothered,’ Malawi Law Society spokeswoman Felicia Kilembe told Reuters.

This is the first time that UNAIDS has intervened legally in a country in this way.

Section 153 of the Malawi constitution prohibits ‘unnatural offenses’ (i.e. same-sex acts) and stipulates up to fourteen years of imprisonment for the offenders, while another section, 156 concerning ‘public decency’ is also used against Malawi’s LGBTI community.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Woman who received $43,000 for her 'relentlessly gay' yard accused of being a hoax

Woman who received $43,000 for her 'relentlessly gay' yard accused of being a hoax

The self-described bisexual mother-of-four says she will not withdraw 'a dime out of this account' until the matter is cleared up
No thumbnail available

Former Swiss Guard commander fears a gay network inside the Vatican

Retired Swiss Guard commandant Elmar Mäder has claimed to a Swiss newspaper that he was aware of gay priests during his time working at Vatican City in Rome
No thumbnail available

David Cameron: I receive lots of gay wedding invites and will go to one soon

UK prime minister says he is proud of legalizing same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Clay Aiken shows raw, emotional side and says 'f*ck' a lot in new documentary series

The Runner-Up chronicles his losing bid to become a US congressman
No thumbnail available

League of Legends tournament limits number of lesbian and trans players

Organizers say LGBTI gamers 'probably have some unfair advantage'
No thumbnail available

Mike Huckabee sees Obama calling Michael Sam as sign of 'utter collapse' of US culture

US President had congratulated football player when he came out as gay
No thumbnail available

Election rivals of Australian Liberals and Nationals to allow free vote on gay marriage

The leaders of two new Australian political parties that may be placed to steal seats from the Liberal and National parties say they will allow their MPs a conscience vote on gay marriage – unlike Opposition leader Tony Abbott
No thumbnail available

Gay hate row mosque opens boys school

Rights groups concerned over mosque in Birmingham, England, where preachers were secretly filmed allegedly preaching gay hate
No thumbnail available

Transgender candidate makes history in Florida

Gina Duncan is making history for being a popular transgender candidate for the Orange County, Florida Commission 
No thumbnail available

UKIP blames gay marriage win on Europe

UK's Euro-sceptic party believes Prime Minister David Cameron has pushed through marriage equality because of influences from Europe