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Sri Lanka’s Government has confirmed that they will not oppose a proposed bill aiming to decriminalise homosexuality.

The announcement, made by the president of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on the 11th of September, marks a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the nation where Same-sex relationships are currently illegal.

Proposed by MP Premnath C Dolawatte, the private member’s bill aims to decriminalise same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults by amending sections 365 and 365A of Sri Lanka’s penal code. 

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However, despite the Government’s confirmation that the bill would not be blocked or opposed, it will still require support from individual members of parliament – something president Wickremesinghe highlighted during talks with Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We are for it, but you have to get the support of individual members. It’s a matter of their private conscience,” Wickremesinghe said, according to the Colombo Gazette.

Wickremesinghe’s statement also follows accusations of forced examinations and “tests” made by the Government on LGBTQ+ people in an attempt to prove homosexual conduct. 

Since 2017, there have been reports of seven people being subjected to such “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” physical examinations, according to Human Rights Watch.

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