Senegal PM says Western Drive for Gay Rights Could Spark Anti-Western Sentiment

Fri May 17 2024
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DAKAR, Senegal: Senegalese Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko warned on Thursday that insistence on LGBTQ rights in diplomatic relations and by multinational organizations could lead to “anti-Western sentiment”.

Homosexuality is stigmatized in the West African nation, where a law against “acting against nature with an individual of the same sex” carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Speaking to students in Dakar, Sonko called on Westerners to respect Senegalese culture and claimed that “there has never been any persecution” of LGBTQ people in his country.

Senegal PM says Western Drive for Gay Rights Could Spark Anti Western Sentiment 1

Sonko criticised “external attempts to impose… lifestyles and ways of thinking contrary to our values.”

He said that while the defence of sexual minorities had “become an important debate” in the West, it was causing “enormous tension” in countries like Senegal, and attention to it could fuel anti-Western sentiment in many parts of the world.

The issue of gender appears regularly on the agenda of most international institutions and in bilateral reports, often even as a condition for various financial partnerships,” said Sonko, a key ally of President Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

Populist Sonko, who campaigned with Faye in the March election on a platform of sovereignty – and with much support from the country’s youth – struck a tone similar to former president Macky Sall, who was seen as closer to the West.

During Barack Obama’s visit to the country in 2013, Sall told the then US president that Senegal was “not ready” to decriminalize homosexuality – earning him an apology from the local press.

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