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Senegalese President denies that ban on homosexuality is homophobia

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In Senegal, homosexual acts are considered a crime.

Senegal's ban on homosexuality is due to cultural reasons that have "nothing to do" with homophobia, says Senegalese President Macky Sall. That speech was said on Wednesday (12), in the presence of Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

"I always defend human rights and bring those issues wherever I go," Trudeau said at a joint press conference in Dakar. "President Macky Sall is very well aware of my views on this, and we will talk about it briefly," he added.

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Sall confirmed that the issue, a sensitive one in this West African country, was raised during the meetings.

"The laws of our country obey rules that are the condensation of our cultural and civilizing values", exclaimed the president. “This has nothing to do with homophobia. Whoever has the sexual orientation of their choice is not the target of exclusion ”, he reiterated.

But, when asked by a journalist how the laws that prohibit homosexuality are not a form of discrimination and homophobia, Senegalese Sall avoided responding.

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The president of the African continent still tried to alleviate the situation and stated the following:

"Nor can we ask Senegal to say: 'tomorrow we legalize homosexuality and tomorrow there is a gay parade, etc.'", referring to LGTB pride marches celebrated in other regions of the world.

“This is not possible because our society does not accept this. Society will evolve, it will take time, ”said Macky Sall.

In Senegal, the law punishes homosexual acts with sentences of one to five years in prison. The penal code refers to "acts that are impudent or against nature with an individual of the same sex".

More than half of sub-Saharan African countries – 28 out of 49 – have laws that prohibit or repress homosexuality, possibly with the death penalty. Senegal is one of 70 countries in the world that still ratify homosexuality as a crime.

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