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Namibia High court decriminalizes homosexuality

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

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

A High court in Namibia on Friday declared unconstitutional two colonial-era laws that criminalized same-sex acts between men, in a landmark win for the LGBTQ community in the southern African nation.

The case was brought by Namibian activist Friedel Dausab with the support of UK-based non-governmental organization Human Dignity Trust. Dausab told Reuters after the court's decision he was "just happy". "It's a great day for Namibia," he said. "It won't be a crime to love anymore."

Rights campaigners say that while convictions under the laws on "sodomy" and "unnatural sexual offences" were relatively rare, they have perpetuated discrimination against the LGBTQ community and made gay men live in fear of arrest.

Namibia inherited the laws when it gained independence from South Africa in 1990, though same-sex acts between men were initially criminalized under colonial rule.

South Africa has since decriminalized same-sex sexual activity and is the only country on the African continent to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt children, marry and enter civil unions.

Last year, Uganda enacted one of the world's harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, which included the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", despite widespread condemnations from the West.

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