Central America Human Rights Defendors

Friday, May 19, 2006

PRESS RELEASE Amnesty International demands the revocation of article 204 of the Nicaraguan Penal Code:

Amnesty International works through its integrated network of LGBT groups to foster respect, security, and human rights for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual peoples and for all who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Amnesty International considers the application of “sodomy” laws, which imprison those who participate privately in common

consent sexual relations between people of the same sex to be a serious violation of human rights. Fortunately, the great majority of the countries of the Americas have abolished such “sodomy” laws. Nicaragua, however, has not.

For this reason, on Wednesday May 17th, 2006 activists from Amnesty International carried out protests outside the embassies and consulates of Nicaragua in Argentina, Chile, México, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to express their deep concerns about Article 204 of the Penal Code of Nicaragua, which states:

“Those who commit crimes of sodomy or induce, promote, propagate or practice any form of copulation between people of the same sex will be subject to suffer a penalty of from one to three years in prison.”

The International Agreement on Civil and Political Law, which Nicaragua had adhered to without reservation since 1980, protects the right to freedom of speech (article 19), freedom from arbitrary arrest or intrusion into one’s private life (article 17) and to freedom of conscience (article 18). Likewise, the Agreement affirms the equality of all people before the law without exception (articles 2 and 26).

The present article 204 of the Nicaraguan Penal Code violates The Agreement on Civil and Political Law in addition to other such international treaties on human rights to which Nicaragua is a party.

Ever since the historic case of Toonen vs. Australia, in 1994, the United Nations Committee on Human Rights has urged all member states not only to overturn their laws criminalizing homosexuality, but also to actively pursue policies that prohibit discrimination based upon the sexual orientation in their constitutions and other laws.

For this reason, Amnesty International is calling upon the government of Nicaragua to repeal Article 204 of its penal code.


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