Gays Misunderstood 24/11/2014 From ILGA Inspired by the LGBT movement in the West, small groups of gays are timidly trying to make a place for themselves in Democratic Republic of Congo Inspired by the LGBT movement in the West, small groups of gays are timidly trying to make a place for themselves in Lubumbashi [the
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country in central Africa with a small area of Atlantic coastline. Not to be confused with Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).
It is the third largest country (by area) in Africa. The name “Congo” refers to the river Congo, also known as the river Zaire. Though it is located in Central Africa, the nation is economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in turn, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zaire (or Zaïre in French).
The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the “African World War”. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people
There are no specific laws against gays in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Homosexual behavior is not mentioned as a criminal offense in the penal code, thus gay sexual activity is de facto legal. However, the Penal Code punishes “crimes against family life” and are used to punish homosexuals. A prison sentence can be from 5 to 20 years. There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples. The first paragraph of article 40, in the current Congolese constitution, states that “Every individual has the right to marry the person of their choice, of the opposite sex”.