ERC statement on the decriminalization of same-sex activity between men in Mauritius
17 October 2023
The Equal Rights Coalition applauds the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Mauritius to decriminalize same-sex activity between men.
In their judgment, the Court struck down the legal prohibition of sodomy contained in Section 250 (1) of the Mauritian Criminal Code as unconstitutional, a significant step in ensuring equal rights and freedoms for LGBTI+ persons in the country.
Moreover, the Court also ruled that the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex contained in the Constitution of Mauritius are inclusive of sexual orientation, as informed by precedent found in international law.
The Court argued that the criminalization of same-sex activity represented a holdout inherited from the country’s colonial era, rather than an “expression of [the] domestic democratic will” of the Mauritian people. In the ruling, the Supreme Court expressed that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic, and thus an individual’s “choice of a sexual partner cannot be the basis of discrimination and it is not for the state to make such a choice for [them]”.
This ruling adds Mauritius to the list of countries that have recently repealed legal provisions against homosexuality, following recent victories in Singapore and the Cook Islands. As well, the decision represents an achievement towards the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community in Mauritian society, and contributes to undoing the lasting and persistent legacies of colonialism that continue to harm LGBTI+ individuals to this day.
As co-chairs of the ERC, we hope that comprehensive legislation safeguarding the rights and freedoms of LGBTI+ persons in Mauritius follows this landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.
The Equal Rights Coalition encourages all countries that still criminalize same-sex relations to follow the courageous and timely example of Mauritius, and guarantee full indivisible and universal human rights for all.
Statement by the co-chairs, Germany and Mexico, on behalf of the Equal Rights Coalition.