LGBT rights in South Sudan

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South Sudan (orthographic projection).svg
StatusIllegal since 1899 (as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan)[1]
Up to ten years imprisonment.
Discrimination protectionsNone
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex relationships

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in South Sudan face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal and carries a penalty of up to ten years' imprisonment.


South Sudan was formerly part of Sudan, and subject to its interpretation of Sharia law, under which homosexual activity was illegal, with punishments ranging from lashes to the death penalty. In 2008 the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan adopted its own penal code, which prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" and prescribes a sentence of ten years' imprisonment.[2]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

As of today, same-sex marriage is illegal and not mentioned by any political party.

Social attitudes[edit]

In July 2010 Salva Kiir Mayardit, now President of South Sudan, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that homosexuality is not in the "character" of Southern Sudanese people. "It is not even something that anybody can talk about here in southern Sudan in particular. It is not there and if anybody wants to import or to export it to Sudan, it will not get the support and it will always be condemned by everybody," he said.[3]

In 2006, Abraham Mayom Athiaan, a bishop in South Sudan, led a split from the Episcopal Church of Sudan for what he regarded as a failure by the church leadership to condemn homosexuality sufficiently strongly.[4]

The U.S. Department of State's 2011 Human Rights Report found "widespread" societal discrimination against gay men and lesbians, and stated that there were no known LGBT organisations.[5]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No (Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment)
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No (Constitutional ban since 2011)
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Where is it illegal to be gay?
  2. ^ "The Penal Code Act, 2008" (PDF). Government of Southern Sudan. 10 February 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  3. ^ "'Referendum on South Sudan's secession will be held'". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  4. ^ Manyang Mayom, "South Sudan Anglican Church rejects tribalism and homosexuality", Sudan Tribune, 17 October 2006.
  5. ^ "2011 Human Rights Report: South Sudan". 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 20 July 2012.