The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has passed a resolution condemning the spread of violence and discriminatory laws targeting gay people on the continent.

The Commission passed the resolution last week, noting with “alarm” the rise of anti-gay sentiment across Africa.

In January, Nigerian president Jonathan Goodluck signed an anti-gay law, banning same-sex public displays of affection and disbanding ‘gay groups’.

In February, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay law which he claims will “punish exhibitionism, recruiters and homosexual prostitutes” by further criminalising homosexuality.

A statement from the human rights group read: “[The Commission] condemns the increasing incidence of violence and other human rights violations, including murder, rape, assault, arbitrary imprisonment and other forms of persecution of persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.

“[The Commission] specifically condemns the situation of systematic attacks by State and non-state actors against persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.

“[The Commission] calls on State Parties to ensure that human rights defenders work in an enabling environment that is free of stigma, reprisals or criminal prosecution as a result of their human rights protection activities, including the rights of sexual minorities.

“[The Commission] strongly urges States to end all acts of violence and abuse, whether committed by State or non-state actors, including by enacting and effectively applying appropriate laws prohibiting and punishing all forms of violence including those targeting persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identities, ensuring proper investigation and diligent prosecution of perpetrators, and establishing judicial procedures responsive to the needs of victims.”