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Government confirms it won't decriminalise homosexuality

The Sri Lankan government has dropped its own proposal to decriminalise homosexuality, which was included in its national human rights plan put forward to help regain the European Union’s GSP+ concession, reported the Deutsche Presse Agentur. Homosexuality is currently a criminal offence under Sri Lankan law.

"In view of the protests by members of the cabinet of ministers, as well as other groups, we have decided to drop the proposal," government spokesperson and Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said on Wednesday.

Sri Lankan LGBT groups criticised the government’s u-turn.

“This move only portrays that the government would rather continue to discriminate a community based on their sexual orientation and to marginalize them than repealing a 134-year old archaic laws imposed by the British,” Executive Director of the Equal Ground, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said, according to the Daily Mirror. “Why we should embrace western Christian laws and not accept peace, acceptance and tolerance practiced in Buddhism. After all this is a Buddhist country not a Christian country,” she said.

The Buddhist clergy and members of the opposition were also amongst those who opposed the decriminalisation. Last week Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe chaired a meeting in which the proposals were dropped, on the instructions of President Sirisena.