LGBT rights in Somalia

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LGBT rights in
Somali Civil War (2009-present).svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
(Federal Republic of Somalia)
Up to three years imprisonment
(Federal Republic of Somalia)[1]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Somalia face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

LGBT rights[edit]

Ottoman Empire[edit]

In 1858, the Ottoman Empire legalized same-sex sexual intercourse.[2]

Italian East Africa[edit]

In 1940, Italy conquered British Somaliland and annexed it into the Italian East Africa. Since same-sex sexual activity was legal in Italy since 1890, it became legal in British Somaliland. In 1941, the British reconquered British Somaliland and re-instated their sodomy laws.[2]

British Somaliland[edit]

Prior to independence from the British, the Indian Penal Code of 1860 was applied in British Somaliland.[3]

Somali Republic[edit]

In 1964, a new penal code came into force in the Somali Republic. The code states that "Whoever has carnal intercourse with a person of the same sex shall be punished, where the act does not constitute a more serious crime, with imprisonment from three months to three years. Where the act committed is an act of lust different from carnal intercourse, the punishment imposed shall be reduced by one-third."[3]

Somali Democratic Republic[edit]

Under Article 409 of the Somali Penal Code introduced in 1973, sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex is punishable by imprisonment from three months to three years. An "act of lust" other than sexual intercourse is punishable by a prison term of two months to two years. Under Article 410 of the Somali Penal Code, an additional security measure may accompany sentences for homosexual acts, usually coming in the form of police surveillance to prevent "re-offending".[2][4]

Federal Government of Somalia[edit]

HIV/AIDS prevention[edit]

Family planning services are hard to access, as is fact-based information on human sexuality. Humanitarian workers have stated that Islamic social mores often make it difficult to publicly talk about how the virus can be spread.[5] Since 1999, much of the AIDS/HIV education and care has come from international organizations such as the United Nations.[5]

Despite this, Somalia has one of the lowest HIV infection rates on the continent. This is attributed to the Muslim nature of Somali society and adherence of Somalis to Islamic morals.[6] While the estimated HIV prevalence rate in Somalia in 1987 (the first case report year) was 1% of adults,[6] a more recent estimate from 2007 now places it at only 0.5% of the nation's adult population.[7]

LGBT organizations[edit]

As of 2004, one group reportedly existed for LGBT people in Somalia.[8]

Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen[edit]

In territories controlled by Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, the terrorist organization enacts a strict interpretation of shariah which explicitly outlaws homosexuality. The punishment for those found gulity is at a judge’s discretion and may be punished by death.[9]

Living conditions[edit]

The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that “sexual orientation was considered a taboo topic, and there was no public discussion of this issue in any region of the country," and that "there were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation."[10]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]