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Thursday 27 April 2017


Chad Goes Backward

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 4th February 2017

Shortly before the Christmas break, Chad criminalised homosexuality, despite not having done so during its (French) colonial era. What led to this setback?

Chad-Parliament_500w.jpg
Parliament Building, Chad.
Originally, Chad's Parliament called for a fifteen year prison sentence for male homosexuality and lesbianism. As it stands, the parliamentary demand was passed 111-1. However, the newly proposed legislation classifies homosexuality and lesbianism as misdemeanours, to be penalised through fines and suspended prison sentences.

This will make Chad the seventy seventh nation to criminalise homosexuality unless President Idriss Deby decides to veto the bill. The legislation has the support of former Chad Prime Minister Delwa Kassire Coumakouye, who described the new legislation as a 'compromise' between severe sentencing and the absence of any criminal penalties altogether. Coumakouye cited 'religious' support for criminalisation as a major ground for the country's new stance, as well as conservative cultural anti-imperialist rhetoric:

"Homosexuality is condemned by all religions. We do not have to forgive something that God himself rejects because westerners have said this or that...The current provision of the Penal Code is a fair compromise between conservative public opinion and an uncompromising international community on the protection of minorities."

The aforementioned abandoned 2014 Penal Code revisions would have led to a sentence of fifteen to twenty years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs. However, Chad had only passed this measure within its Cabinet and the President had not signed it into law. Of the aforementioned 77 nations that retain such criminal penalties, thirty three are located in Africa, with an additional twenty four in the Middle East, nine in the Carribean, and the final seven in the Southwest Pacific- the Cook Islands, Kirbati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

As for Chad's history, it became a French colony in 1900 and France took over colonial administrative responsibilities. It remained a backwater throughout its colonial era, largely subject to institutional inertia and lack of economic and educational development and the Islamic north and east were left to their own devices. After 1945, it was granted self-government and representation within the French National Assembly until full independence in 1960. Francois Tombalbouye, its first president, launched a coup in 1962 and started a thirteen year civil war that ended in 1975 with Tombalbouye's assassination. Libya staged ill-fated intervention, but this paradoxically united its factions around its President, Houssaine Habre, leading to dictatorship, intertribal violence, government corruption and permitting the use of rape and sexual slavery amidst other human rights violations. Habre was overthrown in 1990 and replaced by Idriss Deby, the current incumbent. Deby introduced multiparty politics, a new constitution and won three consecutive presidential elections (1996, 2001, 2006), although there have been subsequent failed coup attempts in 2006, 2008 and 2013. Oil exploration has begun, but the nation is still dogged by authoritarianism, unaccountable armed forces, lawlessness and political corruption. In other words, it looks very much as if Chad's criminalisation of male homosexuality and lesbianism is a convenient diversionary tactic to distract attention from the nation's manifold woes.


Recommended:

Glen Garner: "Parliament of Chad calls for criminalisation of homosexuality" Out.com: 16.12.2016:http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2016/12/16/parliament-chad-calls-criminalization-homosexuality

Colin Stewart: "Chad joins list of now 77 countries with anti-LGBT laws" Erasing 76 Crimes: 14.12.2016:https://76crimes.com/2016/12/14/chad-joins-list-of-now-77-countries-with-anti-lgbt-laws/

"Seventy six nations where homosexuality is illegal" 76 Crimes: 16.12.2016:https://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/


P&R: Chad Goes
Backward
by Craig Young

Shortly before the Christmas break, Chad criminalised homosexuality, despite not having done so during its (French) colonial era period. What led to this setback?

Originally, Chad's Parliament called for a fifteen year prison sentence for male homosexuality and lesbianism. As it stands, the parliamentary demand was passed 111-1. However, the newly proposed legislation classifies homosexuality and lesbianism as misdemeanours, to be penalised through fines and suspended prison sentences. This will make Chad the seventy seventh nation to criminalise homosexuality unless President Idriss Deby decides to veto the bill.

The legislation has the support of former Chad Prime Minister Delwa Kassire Coumakouye, who described the new legislation as a 'compromise' between severe sentencing and the absence of any criminal penalties altogether. Coumakouye cited 'religious' support for criminalisation as a major ground for the country's new stance, as well as conservative cultural anti-imperialist rhetoric:

"Homosexuality is condemned by all religions. We do not have to forgive something that God himself rejects because westerners have said this or that...The current provision of the Penal Code is a fair compromise between conservative public opinion and an uncompromising international community on the protection of minorities."

The aforementioned abandoned 2014 Penal Code revisions would have led to a sentence of fifteen to twenty years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs. However, Chad had only passed this measure within its Cabinet and the President had not signed it into law. Of the aforementioned 77 nations that retain such criminal penalties, thirty three are located in Africa, with an additional twenty four in the Middle East, nine in the Carribean, and the final seven in the Southwest Pacific- the Cook Islands, Kirbati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

As for Chad's history, it became a French colony in 1900 and France took over colonial administrative responsibilities. It remained a backwater throughout its colonial era, largely subject to institutional inertia and lack of economic and educational development and the Islamic north and east were left to their own devices.

After 1945, it was granted self-government and representation within the French National Assembly until full independence in 1960. Francois Tombalbouye, its first president, launched a coup in 1962 and started a thirteen year civil war that ended in 1975 with Tombalbouye's assassination. Libya staged ill-fated intervention, but this paradoxically united its factions around its President, Houssaine Habre, leading to dictatorship, intertribal violence, government corruption and permitting the use of rape and sexual slavery amidst other human rights violations. Habre was overthrown in 1990 and replaced by Idriss Deby, the current incumbent.

Deby introduced multiparty politics, a new constitution and won three consecutive presidential elections (1996, 2001, 2006), although there have been subsequent failed coup attempts in 2006, 2008 and 2013. Oil exploration has begun, but the nation is still dogged by authoritarianism, unaccountable armed forces, lawlessness and political corruption. In other words, it looks very much as if Chad's criminalisation of male homosexuality and lesbianism is a convenient diversionary tactic to distract attention from the nation's manifold woes.


Recommended:

Glen Garner: "Parliament of Chad calls for criminalisation of homosexuality" Out.com: 16.12.2016:http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2016/12/16/parliament-chad-calls-criminalization-homosexuality

Colin Stewart: "Chad joins list of now 77 countries with anti-LGBT laws" Erasing 76 Crimes: 14.12.2016:https://76crimes.com/2016/12/14/chad-joins-list-of-now-77-countries-with-anti-lgbt-laws/

"Seventy six nations where homosexuality is illegal" 76 Crimes: 16.12.2016:https://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/



Craig Young - 4th February 2017

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