Sri Lanka’s 1883 penal code, a legacy of its British colonial rulers, makes sex between men punishable by 12 years in jail, although the law is rarely enforced.(HT FIle Photo).
Sri Lanka’s cabinet has rejected a proposal to end discrimination based on sexual orientation because it could legitimise homosexuality, which is illegal on the island, a government minister said on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s 1883 penal code, a legacy of its British colonial rulers, makes sex between men punishable by 12 years in jail, although the law is rarely enforced.
Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said the cabinet had refused to endorse a provision in a proposed human rights plan that would have undermined the code.
“There was a provision referring to the sexual orientation of individuals and we clearly said it was not acceptable,” said Senaratne, who is also the government spokesman.
“The government is against homosexuality, but we will not prosecute anyone for practising it,” the minister said, adding that the island’s conservative Buddhist clergy was also opposed to the provision.
He said the proposed National Human Rights Action Plan included a provision to remove “discrimination based on sexual orientation”.