Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
Penal Code 1957, Article 600 Unnatural Carnal Offences

Article 600 of the Penal Code criminalises sexual acts with a person of the same sex with a penalty of up to three years imprisonment. The language of this provision is gender-neutral. As such, sexual acts between men and between women are criminalised.1

Enforcement

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report indicates that the government does not actively enforce the law.

Statements by Public Figures

2014

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published guidance on Eritrea. In the LGBT rights section, the report states that: “Same-sex activity is a crime in Eritrea and there is no anti-discrimination legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The Eritrean government has told us that they do not intend to change this situation.”

2013

In May, it was reported that an Italian educator was deported from the country on account of his sexuality. According to the Italian organisation, Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, the Eritrean Ambassador to Italy maintained that: “any foreigner present in Eritrea has the obligation to respect the local customs and traditions and, even more so, the provisions of law prohibiting homosexual relations”.

Any foreigner present in Eritrea has the obligation to respect the local customs and traditions and, even more so, the provisions of law prohibiting homosexual relations.

Eritrean Ambassador to Italy

Persecution and Discrimination

2016

Very little information is readily available on the situation of LGBT people in Eritrea. This is likely attributable to the societal stigma attached to LGBT issues, as indicated in the 2016 US Department of State Human Rights Report on Eritrea.

2011

UNHCR guidelines from 2011 include reports which indicate that LGBT Eritreans experience severe societal discrimination, and that the government has in the past “carried out periodic round-ups of LGBTI individuals.”

Legislative News

2014

During its second UPR cycle, Eritrea rejected recommendations to tackle discrimination against LGBT people, the delegation stating that “consensual same-sex sexual conduct was against the
values and culture of Eritrean society.”

2010

In its first UPR cycle, Eritrea rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations, stating: “these recommendations are in direct conflict with the values and traditions of the Eritrean people.”

Footnotes
1. Penal Code 1957, Article 600 Unnatural Carnal Offences

“Whosoever performs with another person of the same sex an act corresponding to the sexual act, or any other indecent act, is punishable with simple imprisonment.” Full text.

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