UN To India: Rethink Gay Sex Ban

12.12.2013

By Alex Panisch

The UN high commissioner on human rights urges the nation to rethink Section 337

The UN has asked the Indian government to reevaluate its supreme court decision to uphold Section 337, a 153-year-old colonial law which defines a homosexual sex as an “unnatural offense” that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. According to a statement she released from Geneva, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner on human rights called the court’s decision, a “significant step backwards for India.”

“Criminalising private, consensual same-sex sexual conduct violates the rights to privacy and to non-discrimination enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in this case represents a significant step backwards for India and a blow for human rights,” said Pillay. “The Supreme Court of India has a long and proud history of defending and expanding protection of human rights. This decision is a regrettable departure from that tradition.”

According to The Guardian, dozens of Bollywood stars have spoken out against the court’s decision to reinstate the ban. It seems unlikely that the ban will be reversed anytime soon. With general elections coming up in 2014, it’s doubtful that any politician will want to touch the issue.

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