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Cable sobre la homosexualidad en Gabón: no es ilegal pero sigue siendo tabú

ID:242569
Date:2010-01-06 09:16:00
Origin:10LIBREVILLE10
Source:Embassy Libreville
Classification:UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Dunno:10STATE170365
Destination:VZCZCXRO5509
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INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

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C O R R E C T E D COPY - correcting paragraph markings & adding
"SENSITIVE" Caption

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA (MAZEL, GRIESMER, DEES)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, GB
SUBJECT: GABON: VIEWS ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER
IDENTITY

REF: STATE 170365

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Homosexuality is not a polarizing issue in
Gabon. Homosexuality is currently not illegal, but remains a
social taboo within this highly conservative population. As
a result, public awareness of homosexuality is low and openly
homosexual individuals are difficult to find. However, we
would expect that an attempt under the Ali Bongo
administration to criminalize homosexuality and the ensuing
public debate of the issue would be divisive to the detriment
of the rights of homosexuals. END SUMMARY.

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BACKGROUND
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2. (SBU) Late President Omar Bongo Ondimba directed that the
question of homosexuality is a moral and social issue, not a
legal issue. During Omar Bongo's long tenure as President of
Gabon all attempts to legally marginalize the homosexual
community in Gabon failed. Current President Ali Bongo has
not yet weighed in on the issue. In the past, a few isolated
complaints have been raised with the justice system regarding
homosexuality, but these have not been pursued by police or
investigators.

3. (SBU) Emboffs have been in contact with Anne Marie Mboga,
Director of Criminal Affairs at the Ministry of Justice, who
says that she is currently drafting a law to criminalize
homosexuality. Mboga has just begun drafting and hopes to
propose the law this year. Mboga told the embassy that she
strongly believes homosexuality "is against the morals
intended by God." However, even Mboga is unsure if there is
enough support to criminalize homosexuality in Gabon.

4. (SBU) There are no local or international associations
promoting gay, lesbian or transsexual rights, nor are the
local churches or civic groups actively campaigning against
homosexuality. This dynamic may change if a nation-wide
debate develops regarding homosexual rights should Mboga's
law be presented to the National Assembly. At that point,
she might appeal to the evangelical community, though small,
for support. To date, she does not have any partners in the
National Assembly or the Council of Ministers to introduce or
support a draft law.

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COMMENT
-------

5. (SBU) We believe Mboga's goal of trying to introduce a law
this year at the National Assembly is ambitious, given its
nascent stage, that she has not consulted widely, and she
lacks a strategy to bring it before the legislature.
However, we remain concerned that because most Gabonese do
not view homosexuality as a human rights issue, there could
be little opposition to criminalizing it. Public apathy, not
anti-homosexual activism, is the greater danger in Gabon. On
the positive side, Omar Bongo's legacy of opposition to
criminalizing homosexuality has deep roots in Gabon and is
likely to influence a number of long-standing ruling party
lawmakers and officials. We would expect the Council of
Ministers and President Ali Bongo Ondimba to weigh in before
any proposed legislation moves forward. END COMMENT.
REDDICK
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