Sri Lanka Vows to ‘Reassess’ Criminalization of Homosexuality

Sri Lanka has vowed to “reassess” the criminalization of homosexuality in response to a review from the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.

According to Pink News, “The issue was raised as part of the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR),” during which the Sri Lankan government “received seven specific recommendations to amend sections 365 and 365A of the Penal Code, which target people in consensual, adult same-sex relationships.”

In a statement, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle claimed, “Despite social, political and cultural challenges that remain with respect to reforming law, Sri Lanka remains committed to law reform and guaranteeing non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Pink News also noted that Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court recently declared, “The contemporary thinking [is that] consensual sex between adults should not be policed by the state nor should it be grounds for criminalisation.”

In a press release, Sri Lankan LGBT rights group Equal Ground commended the government’s vow to reassess the criminalization of homosexuality.

“We commend our government’s commitment to reforming the Penal Code and amending the Constitution to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of non-discrimination. No one deserves to be targeted by the law because of who they are or whom they love,” expressed Equal Ground Executive Director Rosanna Flamer-Caldera. “Our government has shown significant resolve in pledging to address the criminalisation faced by the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ community and guarantee them basic rights that have for so long been denied.”

“Whether LGBTIQ or not, we are all entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights. We look forward to the government fulfilling on this commitment,” she proclaimed, adding, “We welcome the Government of Sri Lanka’s willing and continued engagement with the Human Rights Council and the UPR process, and commend in particular our government’s commitment to the full realisation of human rights for all citizens in the country.”

“We are pleased that in this regard our Government specifically addressed the questions and concerns raised by the UN Member States about the continued criminalisation of consensual same sex sexual conduct and the discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka,” concluded Flamer-Caldera. “We are very grateful for the efforts of the international community who continue to raise their concerns over the treatment of the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka and greatly appreciate the recommendations that have been made today.”

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