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Sri Lanka Government Commits To Decriminalizing Homosexuality

The Sri Lankan government has promised to take steps to decriminalize homosexuality.

Under laws inherited from it's colonial days, it maintains a "gross indecency" law that bans gay sex.

After Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) under the Human Rights Council, the government has said it wil revise the penal code. The UN gave specific recommendations on how to adjust the penal code which targets consenting same sex adults.

The government has put anti-discrimination protections into place in the workspace, but has rejected calls to revise the penal code in the past.

Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, the country's spokesperson, commented: "Despite social, political and cultural challenges that remain with respect to reforming law, Sri Lanka remains committed to law reform and guaranteeing non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Executive Director of Sri Lankan LGBT rights group EQUAL GROUND, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said of the decision:

We commend our government’s commitment to reforming the Penal Code and amending the Constitution to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of non-discrimination.”

No one deserves to be targeted by the law because of who they are or whom they love. Our government has shown significant resolve in pledging to address the criminalisation faced by the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ community and guarantee them basic rights that have for so long been denied. Whether LGBTIQ or not, we are all entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights. We look forward to the government fulfilling on this commitment.

We welcome the Government of Sri Lanka’s willing and continued engagement with the Human Rights Council and the UPR process, and commend in particular our government’s commitment to the full realisation of human rights for all citizens in the country. We are pleased that in this regard our Government specifically addressed the questions and concerns raised by the UN Member States about the continued criminalisation of consensual same sex sexual conduct and the discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka.

We are very grateful for the efforts of the international community who continue to raise their concerns over the treatment of the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka and greatly appreciate the recommendations that have been made today.

It is great to see progress being made around the world as governments step in to revise laws to protect LGBT citizens.