Homophobia at 'dangerous levels' in Africa
Homophobia in sub-Saharan Africa has reached "dangerous levels" with more countries passing laws criminalising same-sex relations, a report released on Tuesday by Amnesty International revealed.
The rights group said homophobic attitudes and attacks on gays were in some cases "fuelled by key politicians and religious leaders who should be using their position to fight discrimination and promote equality".
"In some African countries political leaders target sexual orientation issues to distract attention from their overall human rights record."
According to the report, Africa's strict penal codes were initially imposed by colonial rulers, based on Christian moral values.
"African people were encouraged by the colonising power ... to view dislike and fear of those expressing normative sexual orientation as a sign of progress and civilisation."
Homosexuality is illegal in 38 countries in the region, with South Africa the only country that recognises gay rights and allows same-sex marriage.