The case of Algeria: products with rainbow colours and symbols banned

“It is necessary to stop the propagation of products containing these colours and symbols, which try to inculcate certain ideas in the younger generations,” these were the words with which Algerian Trade Minister Kamel Rezig officially kicked off his campaign against the LGBTQIA+ community in January 2023. More specifically, Minister Rezig announced his decision to ban any type of product bearing symbols and colours that represent – in his opinion – an attack on the religion and moral values of the Algerian people. It should be noted, however, that there was no explicit reference to rainbow colours in his speech, but the allusion is nevertheless unequivocal. Thus, in compliance with law on consumer protection and the repression of fraud, the Algerian trade minister confiscated over thirty-eight thousand products marked with rainbow colouring. These included school supplies, children’s toys and even 4500 copies of the Koran, as reported by the Arabic-speaking daily ‘Ennahar’.

The law in Algeria punishes homosexuality as an act against the Muslim religion: the specific ‘act against nature with a person of the same sex’ carries a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years. In other African countries, however, the penalties can be even harsher and more severe. In many countries on the continent, life imprisonment can be handed out as a sentence, and in Mauritania, Sudan, northern Nigeria and southern Somalia, those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community risk the death penalty, as reported by Amnesty International.

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