Asia

Countries where Homosexuality is still a Crime

(in alphabetical order)

In Asia, there are 12 countries that still criminalise homosexuality. Of these 7 have ratified the ICCPR, but only 4 have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the UN Human Rights Committee by ratifying the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

 

State

 

 

Domestic law[*]

 

Penalty

 

Ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[†]

 

Ratified Optional Protocol to ICCPR[†]

 

Bangladesh

 Bangladesh

Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860)

Section 377: Unnatural offences

“Whoever voluntary has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.”

Imprisonment for life; or

Imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine

6 Sep 2000

Bhutan

Bhutan 

Penal Code 2004

Chapter 14: Sexual Offences
 Section 213: Unnatural sex

“A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of unnatural sex, if the defendant engages in sodomy or any other sexual conduct that is against the order of nature.”

Section 214: Grading of unnatural sex

“The offence of unnatural sex shall be a petty misdemeanor.”

Chapter 2: Classes of crime
, Section 3.

“For the purpose of this Penal Code, the classes of crimes shall be as follows:

(c) A crime shall be petty misdemeanor, if it is so designated in this Penal Code or other laws and provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of less than one year and a minimum term of one month for the convicted defendant.”

Imprisonment for less than one year, with a minimum term of one month

Brunei

Burnei 

Penal Code, Chapter 22, revised edition 2001

Section 377: Unnatural offences

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. [S 12/97]

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.”

Imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine

 

India

 India

Indian Penal Code (Available on the India Code website maintained by the Indian Ministry of Law and Justice)

Note: Section 377, which criminalises homosexuality, was ruled constitutionally invalid by the Delhi High Court in 2009. However, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s decision in December 2013. The Supreme Court held that it was up to the Parliament to decriminalise homosexuality. Read the Supreme Court’s decision here.

Section 377: Unnatural offences

Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description or a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be to fine.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to candidate the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

Imprisonment for life; or

Imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine

10 Apr 1979

Malaysia

 Malaysia

Penal Code (Consolidated version 1998)

Unnatural OffencesSection 377A: Carnal intercourse against the order of nature

“Any person who has sexual connection with another person by the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of the other person is said to commit carnal intercourse against the order of nature.

Explanation:
 Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual connection necessary to the offence described in this section.”

Section 377B: Punishment for committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature.

“Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping.”

Imprisonment for up to 20 years; and whipping

Section 377C: Committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature without consent, etc.

“Whoever voluntarily commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature on another person without the consent, or against the will, of the other person, or by putting other person in fear of death or hurt to the person or any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more”

Imprisonment for up to 5 years
Section 377D: Outrages on decency

“Any person who, in public or private, commits, or abets
the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

Imprisonment for up to 2 years
Several states in Malaysia have instated Islamic Sharia laws, applying to male and female Muslims, criminalising homosexual and lesbian acts with up to three years imprisonment and whipping. The Sharia Penal law in the Malaysian state of Pulau Pinang prescribes penalties for sodomy (Liwat) and lesbian relations (Musahaqat) with fines of RM5,000.00, three years imprisonment and 6 lashes of the whip. All these penalties can be combined. 3 years imprisonment

Fine of RM5,0006 lashes

Maldives

Maldives 

 

Penal Code of Maldives does not regulate sexual conduct. Uncodified Muslim Sharia Law criminalises homosexual acts between both men and between women. For men the punishment is banishment for nine months to one year or a whipping of 10 to 30 strokes, while the punishment for women is house arrest for nine months to one year. Men: banishment for 9 months to 1 year, or a whipping of 10 to 30 strokes

Women: house arrest for 9 months to 1 year.

19 Sep 2006

19 Sep 2006

Myanmar

Myanmar 

Penal Code, Act 45/1860, Revised Edition

Section 377


“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with transportation for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Transportation for life; or

Imprisonment for up to 10 years; and
Fine

Pakistan

Pakistan 

Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860)

Section 377: Unnatural offences

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine.”

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

Imprisonment for life; or

Imprisonment for a period between 2 years and 10 years and a fine

23 Jun 2010

Singapore

 Singapore

Penal Code (Chapter 224), Revised Edition 2008

Section 377A: Outrages on decency

“Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.”

Imprisonment for up to 2 years

Sri Lanka

 Sri Lanka

Penal Code (as amended by the Penal Code (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 1995)

Article 365: Unnatural offences

“
Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order
of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend ten years, and shall also be punished with fine and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of
 age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall
 be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for injuries caused to such person.”

Explanation – penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

Imprisonment for up to 10 years; and
Fine

If committed by a person over the age of 18 towards a person under the age of 16:

  • Imprisonment for a period between 10 years and 20 years;
  • Fine; and
  • Order to pay compensation

11 Jun 1980

3 Oct 1997

Article 365A: Acts of gross indecency between persons

“
Any person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party
to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with a fine, or with both and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age in respect of any person under sixteen (16) years of age shall be punished worth rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years and not exceeding 20 years and with a fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such a person.”

Imprisonment for up to 2 years; and/or
FineIf offence is committed by a person over the age of 18 in respect of a person under the age of 16:

  • Imprisonment for a period between 10 years and 20 years;
  • Fine; and
  • Order to pay compensation

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan 

 

Criminal Code of 1997 (Effective January 1, 1998)

Article 135: Sodomy

“(1) Sodomy, that is the sexual relations of the man with the man, is punished by imprisonment for the term of up to two years.” (Unofficial translation)

Imprisonment for up to 2 years

1 May 1997

1 May 1997

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan 

Criminal Code of 1994

Article 120: Besoqolbozlik* (Homosexual Intercourse)

“Besoqolbozlik, that is, voluntary sexual intercourse of two male individuals – shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years.”

 

Imprisonment for up to 3 years

28 Sep 1995

28 Sep 1995

 


[*]           Data and unofficial translations of laws are sourced from Lucas Paoli Itaborahy and Jingshu Zhu, State Sponsored Homophobia Report, (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 6th ed, May 2013.

[†]           Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, ‘Ratification status by country or by treaty’ <http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?Treaty=CCPR&Lang=en&gt;

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