31 May 2011

Samoa Law Reform Commission waits for govt response on rights review

11:05 pm on 31 May 2011

The Samoa Law Reform Commission says it hopes to hear soon whether the government has backed its recommendation to repeal laws that prohibit sodomy between two males, and the wearing of women's clothing by men.

The Samoa Fa'afafine Association has just held a conference to explain the clauses in the 1961 Crimes Ordinance Act, which it says breach human rights.

The Law Reform Commission says when it reviewed the act last year the association submitted it was discriminatory.

The commission's executive director Leilani Tuala-Warren says it hopes to hear the government's response to its review in June.

"In relation to the sodomy one we recommended that section be repealed because if it's not consensual it will be caught under other offences. However if it's consensual and in the bedroom, then the submission by the Fa'afafine Association is very compelling it should be kept that way. So it's this whole division between the state interfering in people's private lives."

Leilani Tuala-Warren says she expects the recommendations will be included in a new crimes bill.