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Malawi Moratorium on Colonial Sodomy Law

In he wake of the release of two men arrested under sodomy laws, Malawi has imposed a moratorium on anti-homosexual laws, pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation.

Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu has said that the Malawi government will review all colonial-area sodomy laws in consultation with the people of Malawi.

However, BBC notes that many Malawians are not happy with the decision and religious leaders have asked the government not to relent to pressure from Western donors by allowing same-sex relationships.

The arrest of the two men earlier this month was condemned by the United States and international human rights organisations.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries of the world and relies heavily on international aid.

Tembenu said the country was a signatory to international treaties which allowed homosexual acts, the local Nyasa Times newspaper reports. But he wants the international community to appreciate the "sensitiveness of the matter".

As in several African countries, homosexuality is widely seen as taboo in Malawi. Both the Catholic Church and Muslim leaders have in the past described it as un-Godly.

The government announced a similar suspension of anti-homosexuality laws in 2012, however this did not prevent the two men being arrested.

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