Namibia high court declares laws banning same-sex acts as 'unconstitutional'

The court had upheld the democracy in the society

Namibia gay rights People hold banners in support of LGBTQ rights outside the high court which made a landmark ruling in favour of LGBTQ communities in Windhoek | Reuters

In a historic win for the LGBTQ community in the South African country, a high court in Namibia declared the laws banning same-sex acts unconstitutional on Friday. 

The high court declared the crimes of "sodomy" and "unnatural sexual offences" as "unconstitutional and invalid". 

"We are not persuaded that in a democratic society such as is reasonably justifiable to make an activity criminal just because a segment, maybe a majority, of the citizenry consider it to be unacceptable," wrote the judge. 

The high court was hearing the petition filed by Namibian activist Friedel Dausab. Terming the judgment as "historic", Dausab said that he no longer feels like a criminal on the run in his own country. 

Hundreds of people, who fought for gay rights rejoiced with the court’s decision. “Finally we are not viewed as criminals,” said an activist, who has been fighting for equal rights.

According to ILGA, an international organisation supporting LGBTQ rights, "Consensual same-sex activity is prohibited in more than half of 54 African countries." 

"The victory also brings much-needed and renewed energy to other decriminalisation efforts across Africa," said Ta Braun, chief executive of the Human Dignity Trust was quoted by Reuters. 

Namibia's laws date back to 1927, which the country inherited from the colonial era but maintained after it gained independence from South Africa in 1990. 

The verdict comes against the backdrop of growing intolerance towards LGBTQ rights in southern Africa.

While a handful of African countries have legalised same-sex relationships, South Africa remains the sole African nation which allows gay marriage, legalised in 2006.

(With agencies inputs)

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp