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Cablegate: Mauritius: Homosexuality Not Legislated, but Religious

VZCZCXRO7982
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHPL #0421 3641134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301134Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4903
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000421

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/FO;
AF/RSA FOR LOUIS MAZEL, LAURA GRIESMER AND LEARNED DEES;
AF/E FOR MARIA BEYZEROV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV MP
SUBJECT: MAURITIUS: HOMOSEXUALITY NOT LEGISLATED, BUT RELIGIOUS
OPPOSITION EXISTS

REF: (A) STATE 130765 (B) A/S CARSON EMAIL OF 12/22/2009

1. (SBU) In Mauritius, homosexuality is not specifically mentioned
in legislation, but the act of sodomy is on the books and is
criminalized. The constitution's anti-discrimination provisions
mention "sex" but not "sexual orientation." There is no legislation
pending which would penalize gays or lesbians, nor are there any
plans to amend the constitution to include mention of sexual
orientation.

2. (SBU) The sodomy law is sometimes used by women against their
spouses in divorce cases. There are no cases where the law has been
used to criminalize homosexuality. In 2007, the Attorney General
presented a Sexual Offences bill in the National Assembly, which
included a clause to decriminalize the act of sodomy. The bill was
sent to a parliamentary committee for review; it remains there
still.

3. (SBU) In Mauritius, legal discrimination regarding homosexuality
is not an issue, but there is a cultural stigma associated with
homosexuality. As a result, few homosexuals openly admit to being
gay (this may account for the fact that since its creation in 2001,
the Sex Discrimination Division of the National Human Rights
Commission has received no/no complaints regarding discrimination
based on sexual orientation).

4. (SBU) The younger generation in Mauritius is generally more open
and tolerant of homosexuality than the older generation; however,
certain religious groups have proven to be strong opponents of
homosexuality, as indicated by their stance regarding the 2007
Sexual Offences bill. The Council of Religions, an interfaith group
of religious leaders in Mauritius, played a significant role in
sidelining the bill in committee by voicing dissent during the
public consultation period. (NOTE: Public forums are held while
bills are in committee to give the public a chance to comment on the
pending legislation. END NOTE)

5. (SBU) "Collectif Arc en Ciel" (Rainbow Collective) is the only
local NGO working specifically for the rights of the
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transsexual community. The Collective has held
pride parades for the past four years, which have drawn small
crowds. In 2008, mainly as a follow-on to the public consultations
for the Sexual Offences bill, religious groups held peaceful
protests against the parade. There were no such protests in 2009.


WALKLEY

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