EU lawmakers 'forcefully' condemn crackdown on gay communities

STRASBOURG (AFP) - The European Parliament on Thursday "forcefully condemned" laws in nearly 80 countries which criminalise or otherwise discriminate against homosexual men and women.

Some "78 countries consider consensual same-sex relations as a crime," European lawmakers said in a resolution, highlighting the fact that in several nations, such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, it carries a possible death penalty.

The resolution called on these countries to change the law and in particular urged Nigeria and Uganda to do so after they adopted repressive legislation recently.

In addition, outlawing homosexuality makes it considerably more difficult to combat the spread of AIDS, the MEPs said, with people reluctant to come forward and seek help as a result.

The European Parliament also demanded that Russia repeal a law passed in June which makes it a criminal offence to spread what it calls "propaganda" about homosexuality to minors.

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