6 Boy refugees in Chad sold as child soldiers 6/08 (background story)
11 South Sudan: A Short History 7/11 (non-gay background story)
15 LGBT Has Hit Sudan 8/11 (another view)
June 2004 – Contemporary Review
The rape of slave boys in Sudan
by Maria Sliwa
As hebegan speaking, Majok lowered his small cocoa-coloured eyes and stared intensely at the ground. It was the summer of 2002 and I had just flown thousands of miles deep into the war zone of Sudan to interview former slaves.
Majok, then 12, tightly hugged his long, bony legs, as we sat on the parched termite-infested earth. His ragged black shorts and ripped oversized T-shirt hung loosely on his spindly, dust-covered body. A continuous flow of tears poured down his adolescent face, as he spoke of the way he was repeatedly raped and sodomized by gangs of government soldiers. ‘They raped me’, Majok cried. ‘And when I tried to refuse, they beat me’.
After taking care of his master’s cattle all day, Majok said he was often raped at night. He told me that his rapes were very painful and he would rarely get a full night’s sleep. He also spoke about the other slave boys he saw who suffered the same fate. ‘I saw with my eyes other boys get raped’, Majok said. ‘He [the master] went to collect the other boys and took them to that special place. I saw them get raped’.
Yal, another adolescent, had multiple scars on his arms and legs that he said came from the numerous bamboo beatings he received while in captivity. He told me he saw three slaves killed and one whose arm was hacked off at the elbow because he tried to run away. Yal also said he saw other boys raped by his master at his master’s house.
‘At the time they were raped they were crying the whole day’, Yal said. He then told me that he, too, was raped. Since 1989, Sudan’s Muslim extremist government, which is seated in the North, has been waging a declared jihad against ethnic and religious communities that resist Arabization and Islamization. The battle is over land, oil, power and religion, by a government that is made up of some of Africa’s most aggressive Arab Islamists, says Jesper Strudsholm, the Africa correspondent for Politiken.
Animist and Christian black Africans in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, have paid a price for refusing to submit to the North. Over two million have died as a result of this war, according to the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Often trapped in the fray are surviving victims whom the government soldiers capture as slaves. Human rights and local tribal groups estimate the number enslaved ranges from 14,000 to 200,000 people.
Though thousands still remain enslaved in the North, since 2003, the genocide and slave raiding in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains has been suspended because of a ceasefire. Amnesty International, however, reports that the government continues to attack black African Muslims in Darfur, Western Sudan. According to an expert on Sudan, Eric Reeves, more than 1,000 people are dying every week in Darfur because of government attacks, and ‘the numbers are sure to rise’. Amnesty also reports that surviving victims have been raped and abducted by government soldiers during these raids. International law recognizes both slavery and rape in the context of armed conflict as ‘crimes against humanity’.
As I questioned the former slaves, village leaders, my translators, and many Sudanese immigrants living in the United States, it became apparent that the tribal society in which Majok and the other slaves were born has strict taboos about sex, especially male-to-male sex. I was told that although many villagers are aware that young male slaves are raped while in captivity, it is not discussed because of the cultural prohibitions on all forms of homosexuality including rape. In fact, male-to-male sex is considered such an egregious act in South Sudan that if two males are found guilty of having consensual sex with each other they are killed by a firing squad, according to Aleu Akechak Jok, an appellate court judge for the South.
Jok’s description of Southern Sudan’s punishment for consensual homosexual sex is not too different from the Muslim Sharia law in Northern Sudan, which imposes a death penalty on those found guilty of homosexuality. Village leaders told me that male rape victims, who are able to escape slavery in the North and return to their villages, often consign themselves to a life filled with guilt and suffering and do this silently and alone.
‘This affects their minds badly’, Nhial Chan Nhial, a chief of one of the villages in Gogrial County said with anger. ‘When they return to us, many of these boys have fits of crying, mental problems, and are unable to marry later on in life’. I worried about Majok and the other boys I had interviewed. These boys were all adolescent and pre-adolescent. Many of them told me that their violent experience of rape was their very first introduction to sex.
When captured, Ayiel, 14, said he was forced to watch the gang-rape of his two sisters and says he too was raped numerous times. He described his experience as ‘very painful’ and said he never saw his sisters again after that incident. Perhaps the most graphic account of male rape was given by Aleek. ‘I watched my master and four Murahaleen [soldiers] violently gang-rape a young Dinka slave boy’, Aleek said. ‘The boy was screaming and crying a lot. He was bleeding heavily, as he was raped repeatedly. I watched his stomach expand with air with each violent penetration. The boy kept screaming. I was very frightened, and knew I was likely next. Suddenly the boy’s screams stopped as he went completely unconscious. My master took him to the hospital. I never saw him again’.
Many of the boys told me that in order to avoid rape some of the male slaves tried to escape, but were quickly hunted down by their captors. They said that the punishment for resisting rape is severe beatings, limb amputation or death. Mohammed, a Bagarra nomad, who has helped to free slaves, broke down in tears as he spoke. ‘What they are doing in the North is against the Koran’, he explained. ‘Allah says that no man should be a slave to another man, but all should be a slave to Allah’. Mohammed said that as a Muslim he was heartbroken that the extremists have perverted his religion into a political weapon to torture and oppress people.
When I arrived in Sudan, Ngong–one in a group of five former female slaves that I interviewed–told me that children were raped while in captivity. ‘Yes, I saw with my eyes them raped, boys and girls’, Ngong said.
Though I knew about the rape of slave girls, I did not know this could also be happening to boys. I decided to investigate this further when two females from the same group said they had seen slave boys taken away at night to the ‘special place’ for rape.
I interviewed a total of fifteen male slaves, for one to two hours each. Six of the boys interviewed said they were raped and the majority of these six said they were eyewitnesses to other boys being raped. Most of these six boys said they were raped numerous times, by more than one perpetrator. Some of the boys gave the full names and the home towns of the men they said had raped them.
Though five in this group of fifteen boys said they were not raped, they did say they were either sexually harassed or were eyewitnesses to other slave boys being raped. Only four of the fifteen boys interviewed said they were not raped or sexually harassed, and were not eyewitnesses to the rape of other boys. All the boys said they were never sexually abused or raped prior to their enslavement.
In 2004, the rape of boy slaves is not unique to young Sudanese males, as recently exposed in a ‘CNN Presents’ documentary ‘Easy Prey: Inside the Child Sex Trade’. Sadly, the ugly arm of slavery reaches far beyond Sudan and shockingly touches every continent except Antarctica. One slavery expert, Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves (FreeTheSlaves.net), says there are approximately 27 million slaves worldwide. To date, however, there has been no comprehensive report on how many male slaves have been traumatized by rape.
Maria Sliwa, founder of Freedom Now News (FreeWorldNow.com), lectures on slavery, and is preparing the interviews she conducted while in Sudan for publication.
October 27, 2004 – Behind the Mask
A Sudanese gay man gives an account of what life is like in Arab Africa where homosexuality is intolerated
I am Arab, Sudanese national and I am writing to you with regard to the homosexuality in Sudan. In Sudan a kiss can cost you your life. First of all to begin with, I must confess I do not have the word expression to express to you the horror and the fear I am going through. This is my best friend I am grieving about, it’s all happened very quickly, I didn’t had the chance to say good bye. It was last year when my friend G (I am not saying his name for my own safety) called me he asked me to meet some where. From the way he sounded I can feel he is in trouble, we have met and he told me that his brother saw him kissing another guy, he told me I think he is going to kill me as he is very anti homosexuality.
So I was trying to calm him dawn & I told him don’t be ridiculous no body is going to kill you just because of that & if at the time of the incident he did nothing I think he is not going to harm you, I told him to go back home and act as nothing was happened. I wish I said nothing.
Well the next 2 days my friend is been reported missing, I really thought that my friend is hiding some where & I never thought he is gone forever. Sadly the 3ed day he is been found stepped to death near by the river Nile. How sad & furious is that? such loving and caring person didn’t deserve to die like that, every body loved him & he had no enemy whatsoever, he is just been condemned to death without no conviction, just like all gays in Sudan. I am going through a severe depression of what happened to my friend, knowing who did this crime I just want people to know about what is going over here, about how human life is so cheap& how intolerant & homophobic people in Muslim countries.
I just wonder is being gay is the only one thing about us? Or is it defines our whole being? Unfortunately for some people the answer is yes. You could be awarded with a Nobel Prize. (You know what I mean!) And for them you’d be just gay. So let me emphasis that our whole being is human being & being gay is only a small part of our being.
March 16, 2005 – thumperscorner.com
In Sudan’s Nubian and Cushite societies—homosexuality was also an intricate part of the society. In Sudan, there were “homosexual” tribes in Cush and Nubia before the invasion of the White and Arab religions.
Why do people INSIST that Africa was some perfect paradise devoid of human behavior? Why do we always have to “MAGICAL Superhumans” with Christian or Muslim Values? First of all….Africans are Human Beings, and we existed long before the White Race came into being (which is the final race that emerged 6,000 years ago—Sudan itself is 26,000 years by our count). Anything under the SUN….happened first in Africa to Africans.
” Goat-fucking” and “cow-fucking” were much-practiced in ancient Africa. Just read Nurudin Farah’s book “SECRETS”. Here in the West, you have these “Afrocentrics” who don’t really know Africa—they use their insecurity and their JUDEO CHRISTIAN upbringing in the “Christian Slave World” when discussing customs and life in the ancient “African world”. On top of that…you have Africans in Africa who are now “Christian” or “Muslim”—-and therefore, can no longer be TRUTHFUL about the history and lifestyles of African people before the White and Arab invasions.
Homosexuality….has ALWAYS been present in Africa, just as sunlight and water have. It’s the height of STUPIDITY for these Ultra-Black Nationalists to keep saying that “homosexuality” is some abnormality produced by a WHITE gene. Homosexuality is NOT abnormal. It is a normal part of the atmosphere, the landscape and is present in all living creatures—-dolphins, lizards, lions, humans, doves—they ALL have gay members. You also have to remember that you are asking a person who comes from the most “sensuous” area in Africa, the “NILOTIC” valley—Nilotic meaning Black People of the Nile River. These cultures, in ancient times, were the cultures of GODDESS WORSHIP, RAH and ISIS. Homosexuality was an intricate part of the religious ceremonies of RA (the Sun Diety), ISIS and all Nilotic Religions and Societies.
In ancient Egypt—the male Priests of RA were sequestered once a year to engage in sex with each other and to Re-create “RA” (The Sun God) ejaculating the universe into being. Wealthy Egyptian men had “slave boys” 9, 10 and 12 whose faces were “painted like girls” and regularly “sodomized”—and very often, these men would be having a conversation with their wife and sodomize the slave boy at the same time, with the wife looking on and thinking nothing of it. Egyptian Women took baths together and Queens like Nefertiti and Cleopatra had “slave girls”. Queen Hatshepsut ruled Egypt dressed as a man and was a known lesbian. Ditto Queen Nok of Nubia.
In Sudan’s Nubian and Cushite societies—homosexuality was also an intricate part of the society. In Sudan, there were “homosexual” tribes in Cush and Nubia before the invasion of the White and Arab religions.
I am not “lesbian”—yet, I have been accused of it–because I write positively about gay people and have very close friendships with gay women writers and activists….and I admittely refute these ignorant people in America claiming that Homosexuality was “brought to Africa” by outsiders. Black American women praise Queen Nzingha. But do they realize that she went topless every day and slept with more than ONE THOUSAND men? Do they realize that Nefertiti and Cleopatra and Tiye and Hatsepshut were…PAGANS? Not christians in the least. What you think of as “unnatural behavior” is all part of Human Experience, starting from day ONE. And DAY ONE starts in Africa.
10 December 2007 – Queer Muslim Revolution
“I tell people I have HIV so they can know it’s real”
Juba (PlusNews) – Angelina Lino, 23, works as a volunteer at People Living with AIDS in Southern Sudan (PLASS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Juba, the provincial capital. A trained mechanic and driver, she discovered that she was HIV-positive in March 2007 and declared her status in an effort to keep more young people from contracting the virus. She shared her story with IRIN/PlusNews.
“I am the last-born and was only three months old when my parents separated. Mum tilled other people’s land to provide for nine siblings and me. It was during the war, and it was very hard for her to put food on the table and pay school fees. I was still in school when I met him. He worked for an international NGO based in Yambio, my hometown [close to Sudan’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo]. The neighbourhood children fetched water from a borehole in his compound, so everyone knew him. He was a senior officer [in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army] and drove around in this big [Toyota] Land Cruiser. He must have heard about my situation, so he sent people to me asking that I visit him. When I inquired of his intentions they all said he was a good man, willing to help and to pay my school fees.
“For about a month I resisted his advances – I was 15 and uninterested in men – but one evening he dispatched his driver and security guard, I sneaked out, hopped into the Land Cruiser and in minutes was dropped off at his place. He was happy to see me; he excitedly told me many things – that he loved me and wanted to pay my school fees. He took me to his bed saying, ‘Do not fear, I will be your father and mother, and will take care of you.’ He promised to meet Dad the following day to announce that he is my boyfriend. We had sex. It was my first time and very painful. I did not enjoy it but figured that God had found me a caring man to love and see me through school.
“He kept his word and met my family. I moved in with him. He paid my school fees balance in Yambio and also paid for my secondary school in Arua, northwestern Uganda. He even bought me a plot in Yambio and built me a two-roomed brick house. I was happy. During one of the school holidays, he brought me a gift – a small Toyota Corolla. We were a happy couple and I felt I had all that I needed. The next school holiday I went home [from Arua] to find he had been transferred to Nairobi. He sounded a different man. He said he would continue paying my school fees but would never come back to Yambio. I was devastated.
“2003 was the last time we talked. Later, I tried calling and e-mailing him, but it was in vain. Reality sank in painfully in March this year when I suffered a bout of tuberculosis, fever and malaria. The doctor suggested I take an HIV test. I never felt alarmed – after all, I had only known one man. The news that I was HIV-positive was hard to believe. The doctor at Mulago Hospital [in the Ugandan capital, Kampala] admitted me for a month and put me on antiretrovirals (ARVs) – he said my CD-4 count [which measures the strength of the immune system] was very low. Recently, in Juba, I met my ex-boyfriend’s best friend and former workmate at Yambio. He confirmed that my ex-boyfriend had all along known his status and was on ARV treatment. He was previously married, before we met. In fact, he had lost his wife and two children to HIV-related complications.
“I felt cheated and naïve that I had had sex without protection. I was young and knew nothing about condoms or HIV/AIDS. I feel betrayed by the only boyfriend I ever had. He infected me knowingly, and I will never forgive him. My people in South Sudan know very little about HIV/AIDS, its transmission and prevention. Some associate it with witchcraft. That is why I have gone public about my status, telling them ‘HIV is real’. I visit hot spots like discos and bars, and talk to vulnerable groups: prostitutes, soldiers, long-distance truckers, the ‘senke’ boys [motorcycle taxi operators] and the youth. Some do not believe me and tease, ‘A beautiful girl like you cannot be HIV-positive’. Ignorance and stigma are a bitter reality. A brother-in-law of mine refused to shake my hand or share utensils. My stepmother recently threw me out, telling off my dad for wasting money on a “girl who is dying very soon anyway”.
“I have dreams. To go back to school, get into medical college and become a doctor. Most importantly, I want to live long.
February 19, 2008 – The Guardian
Gay Africans and Arabs come out online
by Andrew Heavens
Khartoum (Reuters) – When Ali started blogging that he was Sudanese and gay, he did not realize he was joining a band of African and Middle Eastern gays and lesbians who, in the face of hostility and repression, have come out online. But within days the messages started coming in to black-gay-arab.blogspot.com. “Keep up the good work,” wrote Dubai-based Weblogger ‘Gay by nature’. “Be proud and blog the way you like,” wrote Kuwait’s gayboyweekly. Close behind came comments, posts and links purporting to be from almost half the countries in the Arab League, including Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco.
Ali, who lists his home town as Khartoum but lives in Qatar, had plugged into a small, self-supporting network of people who have launched Web sites about their sexuality, while keeping their full identity secret. Caution is crucial – homosexual acts are illegal in most countries in Africa and the Middle East, with penalties ranging from long-term imprisonment to execution. “The whole idea started as a diary. I wanted to write what’s on my mind and mainly about homosexuality,” he told Reuters in an e-mail. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect this much response.”
In the current climate, bloggers say they are achieving a lot just by stating their nationality and sexual orientation. “If you haven’t heard or seen any gays in Sudan then allow me to tell you ‘You Don’t live In The Real World then,'” Ali wrote in a message to other Sudanese bloggers. “I’m Sudanese and Proud Gay Also.” His feelings were echoed in a mini-manifesto at the start of the blog “Rants and raves of a Kenyan gay man” that stated: “The Kenyan gay man is a myth and you may never meet one in your lifetime. However, I and many others like me do exist; just not openly. This blog was created to allow access to the psyche of me, who represents the thousands of us who are unrepresented.”
News and Abuse
That limited form of coming out has earned the bloggers abuse or criticism via their blogs’ comment pages or e-mails. “Faggot queen,” wrote a commentator called ‘blake’ on Kenya’s ‘Rants and Raves‘. “I will put my loathing for you faggots aside momentarily, due to the suffering caused by the political situation,” referring to the country’s post-election violence. Some are more measured: “The fact that you are a gay Sudanese and proudly posting about it in itself is just not natural,” a reader called ‘sudani’ posted on Ali’s blog. Some of the bloggers use the diary-style format to share the ups and downs of gay life — the dilemma of whether to come out to friends and relatives, the risks of meeting in known gay bars, or, according to blogger “…and then God created Men!” the joys of the Egyptian resort town Sharm el-Sheikh.
Others have turned their blogs into news outlets, focusing on reports of persecution in their region and beyond. The blog GayUganda reported on the arrests of gay men in Senegal in February. A month earlier, Blackgayarab posted video footage of alleged police harassment in Iraq. Kenya’s “Rants and Raves” reported that gay people were targets in the country’s election violence, while blogger Gukira focused on claims that boys had been raped during riots. Afriboy organized an auction of his erotic art to raise funds “to help my community in Kenya”. There was also widespread debate on the comments made by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last September about homosexuals in his country.
The total number of gay bloggers in the region is still relatively small, say the few Web sites that monitor the scene. “It is the rare soul who is willing to go up against such blind and violent ignorance and advocate for gay rights and respect,” said Richard Ammon of GlobalGayz.com which posts gay stories, news and reports throughout the world.
” There are a number of people from the community who are blogging both from Africa and the diaspora but it is still quite sporadic,” said Nigerian blogger Sokari Ekine who keeps a directory of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender blogs on her own Web site Black Looks.
Ways to Meet
The overall coverage may be erratic, but pockets of gay blogging activity are starting to emerge. There are blogs bridging the Arabic-speaking world from Morocco in the west to the United Arab Emirates in the east. There is a self-sustaining circle of gay bloggers in Kenya and Uganda together with a handful of sites put up by gay Nigerians. And then there is South Africa, where the constitutional recognition of gay rights has encouraged many bloggers to come wholly into the open. “I don’t preserve my anonymity at all. I am embracing our constitution which gives us the right to freedom of speech … There is nothing wrong that I am doing,” said Matuba Mahlatjie of the blog My Haven.
Beyond the blogging scene, the Internet’s chat rooms and community sites have also become one of the safest ways for gay Africans and Arabs to meet, away from the gaze of a hostile society. “That is what I did at first, I mean, I looked around for others until I found others,” said Gug, the writer behind the blog GayUganda. “Oh yes, I do love the Internet, and I guess it is a tool that has made us gay Ugandans and Africans get out of our villages and realize that the parish priest’s homophobia is not universal opinion. Surprise, surprise!”
(Editing by Andrew Dobbie and Sara Ledwith)
08 June 2008 – radionetherlands.nl
Boy refugees in Chad sold as child soldiers
British human rights organisation Waging Peace says boys from the Darfur region of Sudan are being kidnapped from refugee camps in Chad and sold as child soldiers to fight in Sudan. The victims are usually between 9 and 15 years old. The organisation says they are taken from the camps in broad day light and handed over to rebel groups with the silent approval of the Chad government. The United Nations estimated earlier that between 7,000 and 10,000 child soldiers have been recruited in eastern Chad.
17 October 2008 – sudantribune.com
South Sudan Anglican Church rejects tribalism and homosexuality
by Manyang Mayom
(Rumbek) — The Anglican Church of Sudan said preferring to establish its own hierarchy in the country in a manner to mark its distance from other reformist churches for tribalism and their practices of homosexuality and abortion. The Archbishop of Anglican Church of Sudan, in South Sudan Rt. Rev most Archbishop Abraham Mayom Athiaan told the Sudan Tribune “We, the bishops together with our congregation of the Anglican church of the Sudan (ACS) strongly condemn the practice of homosexuality, abortion which is being practiced in Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) leaderships.
“This was one of the main causes of the split”, he added in an interview from Rumbek. The Archbishop also criticised the tribalism and the bad administration in the other reformist church. ”We left Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) due to bad administration, lack of equal development in all the regions and practicing of tribalism among the people of Sudan”. He further said that the luck of good governance, democracy, Church norms and good conduct motivated their decision to split.
The Archbishop regretted also the luck of decentralization of the ECS after its growth during hundred years in the Sudan. “We have formed the Anglican Church of the Sudan (ACS) through the work of the Holy Spirit to be independent church with its own leadership in Sudan”, he said. The Anglican church of the Sudan (ACS) provincial headquarters Rumbek South Sudan was officially formed by the provincial synod on November 11th 2004 from the split which took place in ECS in 2003 due to differences in belief and worship. Then it officially joined Reformed Episcopal Church of Sudan (RECS)
“The Reformation of ECS was a process to achieve our goal and form our mother church, the Anglican Church Communion worldwide. Then by the year 2004 we achieved our goal and formed Anglican Church of the Sudan” separate from both Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) and Reform Episcopal Church of Sudan (RECS), Archbishop said.
Anglican Church of the Sudan (ACS) was been under registration during the late chairman Dr. John Garang de Mabior which had received the letter written by the Anglican Bishops church of Sudan on date November 15th 2004. The late Garang replied to us saying that “the movement [SPLM] can do nothing but encourage the church leaders to reconcile their religious beliefs and reunite but, however, if this is not heeded to by the church leaders, every group among them has a rights to exist as a separate church or denomination.”
“He concluded for your information there is no condition for any church to register at Religious affairs department of the SPLM as this step would restrict the freedom of expression, freedom of preaching and proselytization and freedom of worship. According to the Anglican Church there are around 5 millions Anglicans in Sudan. The Church Missionary Society began work in 1899 in Omdurman, and after Christianity spread rapidly among population of the southern region.
21 October 2009 – Alternet
One of Africa’s taboos: MSM Sexual Issues in Sudan
Sarah Wheeler, International HIV/AIDS Alliance
(Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author’s alone.)
Talib Aboi stands in a small courtyard building in Juba, south Sudan. He talks to a group of men about HIV, telling them how to protect themselves by using a condom. He is a courageous, pragmatic man, who is willing to tackle a subject that in Sudan and across Africa is taboo – HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM).
“If we don’t teach about HIV all our other work will mean nothing. For the children who came to adolescence during the war they didn’t become the people expected by the community. They don’t know what it is to be good, what it is to be bad.” Aboi is the humanitarian director of Mubadaroon a development organisation, supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. He has been working in development for over ten years.
“People are not coming out about men who have sex with men. We are learning that older people are infecting young boys. We want more information but most people are illiterate so we need materials that they can use. We need to do something specifically for men who have sex with men. There are so many sad stories. When I ask them to share, they shed tears,” said Aboi.
Sudan is not the only country in Africa where men who have sex with men face stigma and discrimination. Across Africa homosexuality is illegal but this approach is negatively affecting the approach to tackling HIV in a continent that has the greatest burden of AIDS anywhere in the world. Studies show increasing rates of HIV among men who have sex with men – over 20% in some countries. In coastal Kenya the HIV prevalence rate of men who have sex with men is as high as 43% . The battle to stem the increase in HIV infections among this population is failing.
Homophobia, imprisonment and condemnation, with some African leaders even calling for men who have sex with men to be beheaded, means that the men fear reprisals which stop them from finding out their HIV status and accessing the help they need. Leaders across Africa claim that homosexuality is not within their culture, that it doesn’t exist and where it is seen it’s a result of Western influence.
However in Kenya the Government has recognised the gap in the HIV response for vulnerable groups such as men who have sex with men and included their needs as a priority in the recently developed HIV/AIDS national strategy, allocating funding for appropriate HIV programmes.
The consequence is a series of gross human rights violations and few resources on HIV prevention, treatment and care targeting men who have sex with men and those who have female partners.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In some of the more conservative north African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia men who have sex with men HIV prevention activities have been successfully running since 2006.
Alliance’s partners reached more than 17,000 men who have sex with men last year through awareness raising and prevention work. Advocacy initiatives with local and political leaders are conducted and specifically tailored materials have been developed and distributed in French and Arabic. Importantly, there has been an investment in building up the confidence of local groups to work with the men in a collaborative manner.
Alan Brotherton is a Senior Policy Officer at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. “In Africa we see high levels of stigma and discrimination and this means men are not protecting themselves, their partners or their wives. “UNAIDS have acknowledged that urgent works needs to be done to prevent the spread of HIV. There is a clear public health rationale for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men,” says Brotherton.
The Global HIV Prevention Working Group has estimated that HIV prevention services reach only 9% of men who have sex with men. Where information was reported access to HIV services for men who have sex with men in Africa are around just 12% compared to 43% in Latin America. “There is a desperate need for national AIDS responses to involve men who have sex with men. Pretending that they don’t exist is not going to resolve the AIDS crisis in Africa,” Brotherton said.
January 24th, 2010 – Global Voices
Sudan’s First LGBT Rights Organization?
by Sudanese Drima
Throughout 2009, the Sudanese blogosphere has been in slumber mode. However, many previously inactive bloggers are blogging again along with new ones that have arrived on the scene recently. But that’s not all. Sudanese blogger, Kizzie wrote about the website launched by Freedom Sudan, The Sudanese LGBT Association.
Freedom Sudan is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization in Sudan. Our organization has been formed in December 2006. Our status is illegal. Homosexual behavior is illegal in Sudan and homosexuals facing the death penalty. That’s why our organization was formed in secret and all our activities are carried out secretly, hoping that one day we will get accepted in our communities and even in our families, and hope that we can be Free to be the way we are. Freedom Sudan is an organization run by volunteers only.
Our main goals are:
* Recognition of homosexuality in Sudan.
* Social acceptance of homosexuality and acceptance of the rights of homosexuals in Sudan.
* Abrogation of the death penalty for homosexuals (Articles 148,151, 316 and 318).
* Work together with other LGBT organizations in the world for a better LGBT rights.
The organization also has its own Twitter account here. There haven’t been any reactions to this news yet within the Sudanese blogosphere. Also, before Kizzie broke it out, she wrote about a Sudanese Facebook group encouraging participation in Sudan’s upcoming elections this April, the first one in two decades. The group is called Girifna, Arabic for “We’re Disgusted” or “We’re Fed Up” and it has more than 4,200 members. You can learn more about it at an article posted on its website called Q&A with girifna.
The here’s what Kizzie wrote about the Girifna Facebook group. Apparently, Sudanese people my age actually care about the elections! I wasn’t very optimistic about my generation in my Menassat article published a few weeks ago. I even came up with a name for our generation…Generation Passive….the passive youth of Sudan. Girifna is a beacon of light to be honest! It literally means “I am disgusted” (I can totally relate to their frustrations!)
Waad Ali, meanwhile, blogged a brilliant original post about the signs of genocide and analyzed the situation in Darfur. The signs of genocide according to Waad Ali are:
… The first sign is classification. Now of course all human beings classify; there’s always us and there’s them, there’s our group and there’s the others. This is not necessarily of course a genocidal step, but its absolutely necessary for genocide
… The second sign is symbolization, where we have words or symbols that express those classifications.
… The third sign is dehumanization. It’s where we equate the group that is targeted as being a cancer or microbes in the system. In other words, It’s where we begin to treat one group as somehow less than human.
… The fourth sign of genocide is organization. If a hate group is formed that is organizing to carry out hate crimes
… The fifth sign of Genocide is Polarization, in which the hate groups try to drive the society apart. Basically they try to drive out all the moderates who could stop the process.
… The sixth sign is what I call preparation. It is the stage were people are armed and militias are trained to carry out genocide.
… The seventh sign is what I call Genocide, “legally”.
… The eighth sign is denial. All the way through this whole process, the people who are committing Genocide Deny that they are doing it.
Moving from the topic of genocide, let’s now take a look at a topic that many Sudanese bloggers covered recently in the wake of the Lubna trousers affair: what women wear.
Nersrine Melik, blogging at The Guardian, writes:
“I am averse to any legislation which dictates what women are allowed to wear as much as I am averse to the niqab. Although there is little consensus over its religious obligatory nature, this is a red herring that detracts from the more important question of personal liberty. However, there are situations where a full face cover poses security and identity questions. Freedom is not absolute when it encroaches upon the rights of others. Covering one’s face whether that person is a man or a woman has simple practical ramifications.”
When the Lubna trousers affair erupted, virtually every single Sudanese blogger criticized Lubna’s arrest by the authorities. Adil Abdalla has a different opinion though, and is actually critical of Lubna in light of her recent visit to France where she traveled to promote her new book “40 Lashes for a Pair of Trousers” written in French. She was a shock to our distinctive culture.. in Sudan, conservatism is potted with open-mindness, where sky is the limit for your imagination, yet respect the fundamentals of our grassroots and common perceptions..
She was not that moral-driven one, nor dressed as modest as shown in press.. Police had caught her at midnight in a suspicious club.. A witness claimed her dress was totally different, almost naked; yet some activists helped her to change all to embrace the government in highly charged time of politics and power game..
Regretfully, she ashamed her country, and aided who want to shame Muslims.. She is too small to be any player, yet a tool for big players.. Now, she is immunized in Europe, and will be forgotten shortly.. but the hurt she caused will be deeper and wider to heal..!! In another sign that the Sudanese blogosphere has grown from its tiny community of a dozen or so blogs, Drima at The Sudanese Thinker compiled a list of Sudanese bloggers he’s managed to find so far.
July 9, 2011 – The New York Times
After Years of Struggle, South Sudan Becomes a New Nation
by Jeffery Gettleman
Juba, South Sudan — The celebrations erupted at midnight. Thousands of revelers poured into Juba’s steamy streets in the predawn hours on Saturday, hoisting enormous flags, singing, dancing and leaping on the back of cars.
“Freedom!” they screamed.
A new nation was being born in what used to be a forlorn, war-racked patch of Africa, and to many it seemed nothing short of miraculous. After more than five decades of an underdog, guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost, the Republic of South Sudan, Africa’s 54th state, was about to declare its independence in front of a who’s who of Africa, including the president of the country letting it go: Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, a war-crimes suspect.
Many of those who turned out to celebrate, overcome with emotion, spoke of their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters killed in the long struggle to break free from the Arab-dominated north. “My whole body feels happy,” said George Garang, an English teacher who lost his father, grandfather and 11 brothers in the war. By sunrise, the crowds were surging through the streets of Juba, the capital, to the government quarter, where the declaration of independence would be read aloud. Thousands of soldiers lined the freshly painted curbs, tiger patches on their arms, assault rifles in their hands. This new nation is being built on a guerrilla army — the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, whose field commanders are now South Sudan’s political leaders — and the amount of firepower here is unnerving.
By 9 a.m., the sun was dangerous. The faces, necks and arms of the people packed thousands deep around a parade stand built for the occasion were glazed with sweat. A woman abruptly slumped to the dirt and was whisked away. “She fainted because she’s happy,” said a man in the crowd. “There will be many others today.”
In a column of black polished steel, one brand-new Mercedes after another, came the African leaders: Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president; Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s; Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia; Teodoro Obiang, Equatorial Guinea’s president and chairman of the African Union; Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s president; and Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, among others. But, almost inexplicably, Mr. Bashir, who for years prosecuted a vicious war to keep the south from splitting off and to prevent this very day from happening, drew the loudest burst of applause when his motorcade rolled in.
“It is not happiness,” explained Daniel Atem, dressed in a suit and tie for the occasion, a miniflag flying from his lapel. “If you are talking to your enemy, you cannot say, You are bad.” But, he added, “you know what is in your heart.” From the mid-1950s, even before Sudan shook off its colonial yoke in 1956, the southern Sudanese were chafing for more rights. Sudan had an unusually clear fault line, reinforced by British colonizers, with the southern third mostly animist and Christian and the northern part majority Muslim and long dominated by Arabs.
The southern struggle blew up into a full-fledged rebellion in the 1960s and then again in the 1980s, and the Sudanese government responded brutally, bombing villages and unleashing Arab militias that massacred civilians and enslaved southern Sudanese children. Many of the same scorched-earth tactics associated with the crisis in Darfur, in Sudan’s west, in the mid-2000s, were tried and tested long before that here in southern Sudan. (The International Criminal Court has indicted Mr. Bashir on genocide charges for the Darfur massacres.)
July 13, 2011 – WD Fyfe
South Sudan: A Short History
If I was even a minor official in the government of South Sudan right now, I’d be just a little bit pissed off. A couple of days ago, July 9th, the Republic of South Sudan became the newest nation on the planet. There was wall-to-wall media coverage. Juba, the capital, was full of cameramen, reporters and dignitaries — Obama’s grandma was there, for God’s sake! Even the bimbos at CNN were pronouncing Salva Kiir Mayardit properly. Everybody and his friend was trying to grab a piece of history. Today, less than a week later, you can’t find enough news about South Sudan to fill up a good-sized Tweet. I’ll grant you Mia Farrow and George Clooney have a lot of things to do, and the Western media is busy eating its own over the Rupert Murdoch debacle, but this has got to be one of the fastest kiss-offs in history.
The people of South Sudan have been at this nation-building business for quite some time. This is because they are totally different people from the folks in the north. There’s been a lot of rhetoric about Moslems and Christians lately, but don’t take that to the bank; it isn’t worth much. The fact is the northern Sudanese are Arabs, and the southern Sudanese are Africans. The only reason they were ever in the same country in the first place is the British wanted to save money in the late 40s when Sudan was still a colony – except it wasn’t. It’s all rather confusing, but here’s a decaffeinated account.
The entire British Empire was an administrative mess for most of its history, and Africa was particularly complicated. In the case of South Sudan, first of all, Egypt and Sudan were never actually British colonies. In the 19th century, Sudan was part of Egypt (although their legal writ didn’t go very far up the Nile.) Egypt, on the other hand (and therefore Sudan) was, legally, an independent province of the Ottoman Empire. Of course, the reality was different. The British were running the show in Cairo. There was a huge British presence in Egypt because the Brits owned the Suez Canal and they were going to protect it, come hell or high water. Therefore, they basically told the Khedive of Egypt (the local dictator) he could either do as he was told or Britain would find a new Khedive with better hearing. The Khedive listened the first time — every time — and it was a good arrangement. Egypt was independent (wink, wink) and the Brits wandered around as if they owned the place. Britain extended its formal authority into Sudan only after Herbert Kitchener put a stop to the 19th century’s version of Al Qaeda (with maxim guns) at the slaughter of Omdurman in 1898. After that, Sudan was considered (get this) a condominium under Anglo Egyptian control, but South Sudan was always administered as a separate province. Again, it was a good arrangement. However, after World War II, in a wave of postwar austerity, the Brits decided to save some money and combine the two colonial administrations. It didn’t really matter who was what in 1947 because the Colonial Office ran the country without a whole lot of input from the local folks – so nobody cared.
Unfortunately, when it came time for independence, it mattered a great deal. The British screwed up. They were in such a rush to feel the “winds of change,” they forgot that what they’d been calling Sudan for less than a decade was actually two different countries — and had been for thirteen centuries before they got there. So, in 1956, when the British said, “You’re all Sudanese now. Have fun. Be good. See you around!” and packed their packs and left, the result was civil war. It ran hot and cold for the next fifty years.
To the South Sudanese, this week must look like déjà vu all over again. Here they are trying their best to join the family of nations, and the family seems to have disappeared, just like it did in 1956. I’m sure there are tons of things going on, but I’m seriously perplexed that none of it is making its way into the media. It’s like the world’s newest nation dropped off the face of the earth. Celebrities and the media played a huge role in getting these people a negotiated independence. They can’t just walk away now. As of Saturday,
the South Sudanese automatically qualify as one of the poorest nations on earth. They need everything. We’ve heard a lot of hot air in the last ten years about nation building; South Sudan is a perfect opportunity for the world to help some pretty diligent people build theirs. Here is a chance for the rest of us to do it right. I’m just worried that now that it’s no longer “trendy,” we’re not going to even try it.
14 July 2011 – LGBT Asylum News
World’s newest country off to bad start on LGBT rights
by Paul Canning
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, was proclaimed 11 July and its President, Salva Kiir Mayardit has declared that his promise of equality would not be extended to lesbians and gays. South Sudan was formerly subject to the Sudanese interpretation of Sharia law, under which homosexual activity was illegal, with punishments ranging from lashes to the death penalty. In 2003 the government of what was then called “New Sudan” adopted its own penal code, and in 2008 the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan adopted a replacement penal code. Both codes prohibited sodomy.
In May 2010 Mayardit spoke of a New Sudan where “all citizens” enjoy “equal rights” in a country based on “democracy, equality and justice”. But Mayardit said that LGBT recognition was “not in our character.” “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, I will not get the support and it will always be condemned by everybody.”
Mayardit is wrong that “it” is not “there”. In an article for the expat Bor Globe Network last October, Majur Deng Nhial wrote: “There are people out there who congenitally conceal their true sexes for fear of being considered abnormal and not to be regard with extreme hatred and hostility. They also remain impassive not to distort families’ histories that can bring inerasable shame to the kinships. Another reason is that, there are no potential mates interesting in anal intercourse. Presumably, the mentioned suggestions could be why there was silence in their sexual behavior in the Sudan.”
Two ancient cultures present in South Sudan, Nubian and Cushite, have had homosexuality as “an intricate part of the society.” Nhial relates the story of a South Sudanese gay man living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya: “Kuma (not a real name) was a fashionable gentleman who loved to hangout with girls quite often. His voice box and walking style was of a female, but everybody else was sucking a thumb saying “Oh! he got all of them, all the girls” because he had a physical grace and beauty that attracted girls; that was a moment he wrestled with his true gender identity, but nobody paid attention until his arrival to the United State where he found liberty.”
John Mathenge of HOYMAS, a Kenyan support group for MSM and gay men living with HIV, told the Kenyan website Freedom in Speech last month: “We have cases of Somalis and Sudanese who are MSM or gay in our records. Many flee their countries because of political instability but when you get to learn their story you realize they ran away for a completely different reason. The ones I have met are gay or MSM and many end up engaging in sex work here in Nairobi to earn a living.”
Activities addressing HIV/Aids in South Sudan do not include the needs of LGBT or men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), and a need for research has been identified. A World Bank report from April said: “Hardly anything is known about two important high-risk populations that probably exist in Southern Sudan – men who have sex with men (MSM) and injection drug users (IDU) – both of these populations (including male sex workers) have been identified in neighbouring countries, and there is no reason to assume that they do not also exist in Southern Sudan. Even if their numbers are small, their behaviours mean that their HIV incidence rates can be very high.”
Despite western media reports that the country is mainly Christian, most South Sudanese maintain traditional indigenous (sometimes referred to as Animist) beliefs and the government has supported freedom of religion. But the Christian church is very influential and in 2006 the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of South Sudan, Rt. Rev most Archbishop Abraham Mayom Athiaan told the Sudan Tribune: “We, the bishops together with our congregation of the Anglican church of the Sudan (ACS) strongly condemn the practice of homosexuality, abortion which is being practiced in Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) leaderships.”
July 25, 2011 – Arabs 4 Tolerance
It Gets Better 4 LGBT Arabs
Growing up feeling and knowing that you are “different” can be very challenging especially during adolescence. Growing up thinking and feeling that you are “bad”, “sinful” and/or “evil” – with shame and self-hate can be detrimental to your emotional, mental and physical health. Growing up as LGBT in an Arab family, in an Arab society where tradition, ritual and religious beliefs run very deep, can be very, very difficult and overwhelming.
Well, we’re here to let you know that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. You are not bad or evil. You have a different sexual orientation or gender identity – That Is All. Nothing more and nothing less. You are a blessing and a gift. You are loved and you certainly are not alone. You are also stronger than you think you are. Human beings can be very resilient. Please take a few moments and watch the following videos made by 3 gay men who happen to be Arab or of Arab origin. They talk about their struggles and how life has changed for them – to the better. They are proof that it Does get better.
3 August 2011 – PinkNews
HIV ‘epidemics’ emerging in gay men in North Africa and the Middle East
by PinkNews.co.uk Staff Writer
New research suggests that HIV epidemics are emerging in North Africa and the Middle East among men who have sex with men (MSM). According to researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia are seeing high rates of infection in gay and bisexual men. Across the region, homosexuality is illegal or frowned upon in most countries.
The researchers said it was a common belief that little or no data is held on MSM HIV transmissions in North Africa and the Middle East. However, they discovered some reliable and previously unpublished sources. Researcher Ghina Mumtaz told Reuters: “It’s like the black hole in the global HIV map – and this has triggered many controversies and debates around the status of the epidemic.” She added: “Men who have sex with men are still a highly hidden population in the region and there is stigma around this behaviour, but some countries have been able to find creative ways of dealing with the problem and at the same time avoiding the social, cultural and political sensitivities.”
The research, published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine journal, urged countries to do more to address MSM infections.
5 August 2011 – LGBT Asylum News
LGBT has hit Sudan!
Part one of a two-part series. Read part two
There is a Sudanese website called Rumat Alhadag which posted in 2009 an article about the establishment of the Sudanese LGBT Association Freedom Sudan and its goal to improve the rights of LGBT individuals in Sudan, a quick analysis of the replies to this article reveals the following:
1. There were 39 replies (repetitions were not counted).
2. While only 4 replies reflected positive attitude toward homosexuality and homosexuals, 33 replies displayed a negative (many times very aggressive) attitude toward the issue. However, 1 reply acknowledged its existence without showing a clear attitude and another one only displayed a surprise feeling.
3. Words used to describe homosexuals included: “dregs”, “decadents”, “immoral”, “animals alike” and “salacious” with calls to “be expelled to an empty jungle”, “buried alive” and “pursuit by authorities”.
Before the establishment of the LGBT association in Sudan (Freedom Sudan) in 2006, homosexuality was a taboo subject and not many people dared to talk about it publicly and if they did so they would then have to face fierce and sometimes personal attacks from the society members. Even if they displayed a judgmental negative attitude toward the issue they would probably be labeled with descriptions like “profligate” and “excitement seekers” and accused with “attempting to distort the image of Sudan”.
Sexual behavior in Sudanese culture is strongly linked to honor (the honor of the individual and the honor of the group are inseparable) and the concept of “honor” is a great and dangerous deal here in Sudan, it pushes many people to lie even to themselves if it was necessary in order to protect it. That is why these attempts to talk freely about homosexuality were met by such enormous denial and aggressive attack. Even until now after it has started to become less and less a forbidden subject, many people still think that this issue shouldn’t be discussed openly and should be dealt with secretly by security measures only, after all (according to these voices) these “deviants” represent only a very small and closed group in Sudan and no one supports them.
Homophobia in Sudan: a “ping pong” game!
In the highly charged political climate of Sudan, many political and religious movements seized the opportunity of the already existent negative public attitude toward LGBT people and the shock caused by the formation of an association for LGBT individuals and also the appearance of LGBT groups on Facebook (i.e. “gay story in sudan”, “Sudan Next Top Gay”, “Sudanese Gays” … and others) they seized all this and used it as an argument against other opponent groups.
Those who consider themselves to be moderate or even liberals or progressive thinkers blame the hypocrisy of the NCP* government and its supporters which, as they like to prescribe, while raising the logo of the “civilized Islamic project” have created a proper atmosphere for “extraneous and deviant phenomena” like the “spreading” of homosexuality by forcing in a puritanical form of Shari’a** (was prominent during the 90s then started to weaken afterwards) that inhibit the mixing of males and females in public and academic life which caused the elevation of sexual oppression among both sexes and pushed them to search for the “alternative” (by which they mean homosexuality)!.
August 19th, 2011 – Behind The Mask
Freedom In Sudan: An LBGT Movement Against All Odds
Ali* is the exiled co-founder and president of Freedom Sudan, a banned LGBT movement in that country. BTM Correspondent Melissa Wainaina interviewed him via email about the situation for sexual minorities there. Please give us some background on the general situation in Sudan in terms of the LGBT movement. The situation is really hard for all LGBT persons in Sudan. Sudan has criminalized homosexuality and is one of the countries in the world that recommends the death penalty for the LGBT’s. We have no rights or legal recognition so far, and the government is trying to shut down the LGBT Movement.
Our biggest problem in Sudan is homophobia. If a family found out one of their own is gay or lesbian, they would kill them out of shame even before reporting the matter to the police. Most of the LGBT are killed or tortured (and I am speaking from personal experience) so most resort or hiding their true self. The following account is the graphic personal experience that Ali underwent at the hand of government agents. His story illustrates how tough the situation is for LGBT persons in Sudan. [Some details may disturbing for some readers]
In April 2009 in Sudan, 11 friends and I were holding a private house party. Agents from the intelligence agency raided the party and took us away to an unknown location. Everyone was put in solitary confinement in cells. The cells were very dirty and I was denied water and food for two days. In their interrogation they stripped me naked and began asking me about everything. They wanted to know whether I am gay, who my friends, my family were and what were my political and LGBT association activities?
Then they started to hit me. One of them put a pistol to my head and said he wished he could kill me right away. They dragged me by the legs and strung me up, and hit me with a metal rod all over my body. They grabbed my privates and hit me there too. They anally raped me with the metal object that they used to beat me, all the time laughing out loud and mocking me asking if I wanted more. By this time I was screaming from pain and I was bleeding and hurt I couldn’t even control my bladder. They kept at this until I lost consciousness.
I remained locked up for four weeks and spent another three and a half months in prison and while waiting for my trial in which I was expecting to be sentenced to death since I was caught “red handed.” However some of my family members succeeded in smuggling me out of prison and then I escaped the country using a fake passport. My other friends did not have it easy either. Eight of them were flogged 100 lashes each while the fate of another three, including my boyfriend remains unknown. Please give us outline of the LGBT organizing and the movement. Are you getting support or resources for the work your doing? What else can be done? At the moment we have a movement run primarily through volunteerism called Freedom Sudan. It is also the first and the only current LGBT movement. Our goal and is to seek recognition of homosexuality in Sudan. We also seek to gain social acceptance of homosexuality and acceptance of the rights of homosexual individuals in Sudan.
19 August 2011 – AllAfrica.com
LGBT Has Hit Sudan
Analysis – Concerned by the entrenched homophobia (along with severe prejudice towards LGBT people in general) within Sudanese society, Ghareeb considers what explains the persistence of extreme intolerance.
There is a Sudanese website called Rumat Alhadag which posted in 2009 an article about the establishment of the Sudanese LGBT Association Freedom Sudan and its goal to improve the rights of LGBT individuals in Sudan. A quick analysis of the replies to this article reveals the following:
– There were 39 replies (repetitions were not counted)
– While only four replies reflected positive attitudes toward homosexuality and homosexuals, 33 replies displayed a negative (many
times very aggressive) attitude toward the issue. However, one reply acknowledged its existence without showing a clear attitude and
another one only displayed a surprise feeling
– Words used to describe homosexuals included ‘dregs’, ‘decadents’, ‘immoral’, ‘animals alike’ and ‘salacious’, with calls to ‘be expelled to an empty jungle’, ‘buried alive’ and ‘pursuit by authorities’.
Before the establishment of the LGBT association in Sudan (Freedom Sudan) in 2006, homosexuality was a taboo subject and not many people dared to talk about it publicly and if they did so they would then have to face fierce and sometimes personal attacks from the society members. Even if they displayed a judgmental negative attitude toward the issue they would probably be labelled with descriptions like ‘profligate’ and ‘excitement seekers’ and accused with ‘attempting to distort the image of Sudan’.
Sexual behaviour in Sudanese culture is strongly linked to honour (the honour of the individual and the honour of the group are inseparable) and the concept of ‘honour’ is a great and dangerous deal here in Sudan; it pushes many people to lie even to themselves if it was necessary in order to protect it. That is why these attempts to talk freely about homosexuality were met by such enormous denial and aggressive attack. Even until now after it has started to become less and less a forbidden subject, many people still think that this issue shouldn’t be discussed openly and should be dealt with secretly by security measures only. After all (according to these voices) these ‘deviants’ represent only a very small and closed group in Sudan and no one supports them.
30 August 2011 – LGBT Asylum News
In Sudan, for LGBT, more clouds on the horizon
This is part two of a two part series; read part one
The preparation of this article started 8 July, the eve of the secession of southern Sudan from the Republic of Sudan to become an independent country. Southerners were very excited, obviously, but both northerners and southerners were wondering about what the future might hold for them. Homosexuals on both sides have more than their fair share of concerns.
In December 2010 president Omar Albashir stated in a public speech which preceded Southern Sudanese referendum in January this year: “If Southern Sudan chose the secession the constitution will be then modified and there will be no place to talk about racial and cultural diversity and Islam and Shari’a* will be the main resources for legislation.”
This statement was made in the context of the “carrot and stick” policy attempted back then by the Northern government in order to persuade southerners who were living in the north to vote for unity in the 9 January referendum, however its echo stirred the fears of liberals, human right activists and, of course, LGBT community which had already suffered a great deal even during the transitional period between 2005 and 2011 in the name of Shari’a. During this period, in concordance with the “Republic of Sudan Transitional Constitution for Year 2005”, shari’a remained the main resource of legislations on the national level and it has been actively implemented in the Northern states whereas the South was excluded.
Before the National Islamic Front came into power by the military coup d’état (National Salvation Revolution) which held up the logo of “Islamic State” and rejected the principle of “Secular State” in 1989, before that, there were no laws that criminalised same sex between adults. However, only two years after that in the 1991 Penal Code man to man sex was criminalised under the name of “Sodomy” with the “guilty” being lashed and maybe imprisoned for the first and second convictions and subjected to death penalty for the third and last conviction. (The funny thing about this article is that anal sex between a man and a woman is included also as crime in the same article!)
As for “Acts of Obscenity” (public or private display of affection or a sexual behavior that does not reach the point of sexual intercourse) lashes, a year of imprisonment and a fine are all options. However, there is no clear mention in that law for same sex between women.