Image for Palau decriminalises male homosexuality

Palau decriminalises malehomosexuality

The tropical island country of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean – home to around 20,000 people across 250 islands – is the latest nation to decriminalise consensual same-sex conduct between men.

At Palau’s last Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the delegates from France, Norway and Spain all made recommendations that Palau repeal its anti-gay laws, explains LGBTI rights group Kaleidoscope Australia. These suggestions were accepted by the Government of Palau, which has since undertaken a revision of its Penal Code.

The new criminal laws came into force at the end of July this year, but no official announcement was made at the time.

“This is wonderful news, giving a much need impetus to the process for reform in the Pacific,” says Kaleidoscope Australia’s President Dr Paula Gerber.

The last Pacific nation to decriminalise homosexuality was Fiji in 2010. There are still 79 countries globally that treat gay men as criminals. A quarter of these countries are Australia’s near neighbours: eight are in the Pacific region, including Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Nauru and the Solomon Islands, and twelve are in Asia.

Find out more about Kaleidoscope Australia’s work promoting and protecting LGBTI rights in the Asia Pacific region here on its website.

And discover Palau here on its official tourism website.

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