Home Africa Burkina Faso’s Military Junta Moves To Criminalise Homosexuality

Burkina Faso’s Military Junta Moves To Criminalise Homosexuality

Burkina faso military ruler
File Photo of Burkina Faso's military leader Ibrahim Traore escorted by soldiers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, October 2, 2022. (Vincent Bado/REUTERS)

Burkina Faso’s military junta said it has adopted the draft of an amended family code that criminalises homosexuality.

The West African nation has been among just 22 out of 54 countries on the continent that allow same-sex relations, which are punishable by death or lengthy prison terms in some states.

Burkina Faso has been under military rule since two successive coups in 2022 and is part of a confederation with juntas in neighbouring Mali and Niger.

All three interim governments have so far failed to hold elections and turned away from traditional Western allies.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Burkina Faso’s military junta said it had adopted the amended family code draft in a weekly council of ministers overseen by interim military leader Ibrahim Traore.

“From now on, homosexuality and related practices are prohibited and punishable by law,” interim Justice Minister Edasso Rodrique Bayala said in a presidency statement on the meeting.

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For the law to come into force, it will need to pass a parliamentary vote and then be promulgated by Traore.

Homosexuality was not banned in the country before the military takeover.  Since then the clampdown has moved forward.

There has been a further clampdown on LGBTQ rights in Africa over the past 14 months. Uganda signed one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in May last year that makes even consensual same sex punishable with life imprisonment.

While lawmakers in Ghana unanimously passed legislation in February that intensifies the repression of LGBTQ people.

The daughter of Cameroon’s president, Brenda Biya, came out as a lesbian last month and has since called for laws that ban homosexuality in the country to be changed.

The ban has been condemned by the US, Europe and the United Nations which have warned that aid flows to these nations could be threatened if the laws are not repealed.