Members of Amnesty International staged a series of protests last week Thursday in front of Nicaraguan embassies and consulates in Berlin (Germany), Montreal (Canada), Santiago (Chile), Reykjavik (Iceland), Mexico City (Mexico), Asuncion (Paraguay), Stockholm (Sweden) and Taipei (Taiwan) calling for the decriminalisation of “sodomy” in Nicaragua.

They also expressed the organisation’s grave concerns about the continuing existence of article 204 of the Nicaraguan Penal Code which states that:

“Anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes or practices in scandalous form sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex commits the crime of sodomy and shall incur 1 to 3 years’ imprisonment.”

According to the organisation, this article potentially criminalises not only gay men, lesbians and bisexual people in same-sex relationships, but is vague enough to permit the prosecution of individuals for activities such as campaigning for LGBT rights or anyone providing sexual health information or services. Anyone imprisoned under this law would be considered by Amnesty International to be a prisoner of conscience.

Article 204 contradicts numerous provisions in international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Nicaragua agreed to uphold without reservations in 1980, protects the rights to freedom of expression (article 19), freedom from arbitrary interference with the right to privacy (article 17) and freedom of conscience (article 18). It affirms the equality of all people before the law and the right to freedom from discrimination (articles 2 and 26).

“Nicaragua’s “sodomy” law clearly violates all these articles as well as the provisions of other human rights instruments that Nicaragua has ratified, such as the American Convention on Human Rights,” said amnesty

Amnesty International said that it considers the use of “sodomy” laws to imprison individuals for same-sex relations in private to be a grave violation of human rights. The vast majority of other countries throughout the Americas have abolished their “sodomy” laws.

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