The Supreme Court on July 10 resumed hearing pleas seeking to scrap Section 377 in the country. As per Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, homosexuality is a crime in India. People in the country are divided about the rights of the LGBTQ community. Also, Section 377 in a way contradicts our Right to Privacy. But criminalisation of homosexuality is not unique to India. There are several countries across the world that consider same sex activities a criminal offence and also do not have any rights for the LGBTQ community.
Here is a list of five countries which have no legal protection for homosexual people -
In Iran, homosexuality is a crime. While there is a provision in the country for people to legally change their gender, any sexual activity between same sex people is a punishable offence. Any kind of sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is forbidden. Same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or execution.
Until 1999, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in Russia and it was decriminalised in 1993. Though there remains an unofficial ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ regarding homosexuality in the country. Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. But there are currently no laws prohibiting discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation in Russia.
Nigeria has a population of over 170 million people, but provides no protection for people belonging to the LGBTQ community. Violence against LGBT people is frequent in the country. In several states in Nigeria, the punishment for homosexuality is imprisonment, while some states have also adopted the sharia law and imposed a death penalty for those found indulging in homosexual activities.
Till date, Malaysia continues to consider the colonial era law under the British Empire which considers homosexuality a criminal offence. People of the LGBTQ community in Malaysia face legal challenges. Their social attitudes towards the LGBT community are largely shaped by Islam, their official religion.
According to the country’s interpretation of the sharia law, homosexuality is illegal in the country. LGBTQ people in Saudi Arabia face legal challenges. In fact they have one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world. Both male and female same-sex sexual activities are illegal. The law punishes acts of homosexuality with punishments like fines, flogging, life imprisonment, death, and torture.
With time, some countries have recently warmed up to the LGBTQ community. Countries like United States (2015), Australia and Germany (2017), and France (2013) have recently decriminalised homosexuality and now have legal protection for LGBTQ community. With the Supreme Court hearing pleas regarding Section 377 today, the LGBTQ community in India is also hoping for things to turn their way.