Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
Commonwealth member state
Penal Code, S. 153 Unnatural Offences

Section 153 criminalises buggery between men with a punishment of fourteen years imprisonment.1

Penal Code, S. 154 Attempts to Commit Unnatural Offences and Indecent Assault

Section 154 prohibits attempts to commit the offences listed in Section 153 with a penalty of seven years imprisonment.2

Penal Code, S. 155 Indecent Practice Between Males

Section 155 criminalises acts of “gross indecency” between males with a penalty of five years imprisonment.3

Enforcement

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report on Tuvalu states that there were no reports of prosecutions of consenting adults under these provisions during the year.

Statements by Public Figures

2015

In August, the United Nations launched a Pacific campaign against homophobia and transphobia. The initiative is a spin-off of the global United Nations Free & Equal Campaign led by the UN Human Rights Office. The launch event was attended by government representatives from Tuvalu.

2013

During Tuvalu’s second UPR cycle in July, the Attorney General explained that Tuvalu was open to discussions surrounding sexual orientation and legislative changes.

Persecution and Discrimination

2014

The 2014 US Department of State Human Rights Report on Tuvalu found no instances of persecution or discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The report does, however, add that “social stigma or intimidation” may lead to underreporting.

Legislative News

2018

In its third UPR cycle in July, Tuvalu received recommendations concerning decriminalisation of consensual same-sex relations between adults. Tuvalu responded that it would examine these recommendations and provide responses in due time.

2013

In its second UPR cycle, Tuvalu rejected a recommendation to repeal buggery and gross indecency provisions. However, the Head of the Delegation, Ms. Eselealofa Apinelu, the Attorney General, stated that “people with different sexual orientation did not suffer social discrimination but the question of legal protection in the law was controversial and would need to be carefully considered. Tuvalu was open to discussion.”

2011

Tuvalu was a signatory to the 2011 Human Rights Council Joint Statement to end acts of violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Footnotes
1. Penal Code, S. 153 Unnatural Offences

“Any person who —

  1. (a)  commits buggery with another person or with an animal; or
  2. (b)  permits a male person to commit buggery with him or her,

shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 14 years.” Full text.

2. Penal Code, S. 154 Attempts to Commit Unnatural Offences and Indecent Assault

“Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in the last preceeding section, or who is guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or any indecent assault upon any male person shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 7 years.” Full text.

3. Penal Code, S. 155 Indecent Practice Between Males

“Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 5 years.” Full text.

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