Reporting in recent years had suggested that about 76 or 78 countries criminalised homosexuality.
The latest statistics were posted by Kaleidoscope Australia on its new Antigay Laws website created by board member and Monash University Associate Professor Paula Gerber.
“This website should help to clear up a number of these misconceptions by providing accurate and up-to-date data about the true state of the laws that criminalise homosexuality,” Gerber said
“It will also serve as a baseline from which to measure how quickly reform happens, and where.”
No countries in Europe were included in the list, but Africa and Asia had the largest representation of nations with anti-gay laws. The majority of countries that criminalised homosexuality do so via legislation but there are several instances where the application of Sharia Law is the motivating force. In addition, 42 countries on the list were former colonies of the British Empire and now part of the Commonwealth.
“Many people are surprised by the countries that are not included on this website. For example, the fact that there are no European countries where homo- sexuality is criminal, shocks some people, who assume that all the homophobia taking place in Russia at the moment means that homosexuality is a crime there,” Gerber said.
“In fact, Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993. It is the lack of anti-discrimination laws that allow the current wave of anti- gay activity to flourish unchecked.”
According to the website, 57 out of the 80 countries that criminalised homosexuality do so despite being signatories of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, while 26 of the 80 have also signed the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which allows individuals to bring a complaint of a human rights violation to the UN. It was under this protocol that Tasmanian Nick Toonen brought a complaint against Australia in 1994, and eventually saw anti-sodomy laws in Tasmania and Queensland being overturned.
In countries where homosexuality is illegal, penalties range from fines to the death penalty with imprisonment and corporal punishment also common.