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SOMALIA - Somali Culture and Homosexuality (Somali Gay Community Website): Homosexuality in Somalian communities is as extensive as in any other ethnic community, the only difference is that it’s done in private and secrecy thus not openly visible. Arab and Muslim governments turn a blind eye to homosexual practices as long as it stays in the dark. But conspicuous punishments await those who dare to test the limits of the law. In several occasions when gays came to the open and in case a gay marriage was conducted, they had to face the shame of the community and the hand of law. (Bashir Goth)... Gay and Lesbian Somalians who are in Somalia have no official recognition and live under a constant cloud of fear, as homosexuality is often punished with lashing, being ostracised from families and communities and even death! This is not an exaggeration as many of our brothers and sisters have been made to suffer inhumane reprimands or killed. Therefore, being Somali and gay can be difficult. Living secret lives and not sharing your ideas and feelings with those you have close contact with in life is not an easy thing. Many flee their homes to escape possible torture or “honour killings”. Some become accustomed with living double lives. Some are out to their families, not necessary by choice. Homosexuality is discussed in Somali households mainly in a negative way. Families tend to know or suspect their children but the problem arises when the son or daughter admits to his/her sexuality...

 Gay Somalis in London Launch Community Website (2007): A new website, Somali Gay Community, has been launched to serve the small gay Somali community in London – and beyond. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Somali history and culture anywhere in the world. - Somali gays supporting each other (2009): Five Somali friends currently living in London recognised a need for a support network for other gay and lesbian Somalis in the United Kingdom... The launch of our website was greeted with horror, disgust and rage, James said. The Somali people around the world did not want to know that we existed and that homosexuality was not just a -˜Western social problem’, as they wanted to believe, but a Somali one too... The website received over 133,000 hits in the first week and regularly receives over 20,000 hits a day. There is a huge demand for the service we provide. We currently have 752 registered members. Most visitors won’t register their details for fear of being found out. There are also 35 people who regularly attend our monthly support group and we work with around 20 clients helping them with charities and service providers, James said. The website receives around 45 messages a day from users. People tell us the website gave them the opportunity to find out about the lives of other Somali homosexuals who face similar hardships in not only accepting one’s sexuality but also dealing with homophobia. Many thought they were the only Somali gays in the world.

Death hangs over Somali queers (2004, Alternate Link): Faro, is one of the leaders of Queer Somalia, a community based organisation based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He makes frequent visits to Somalia to make contact with small groups of queers there and on a recent visit he sent back startling information that shows that for gay and lesbian people in Somalia the issue of death looms large. Whether through suicide following pressure from families or via loosely applied Islamic law that is uncontrolled due to the lack of a central government, their greatest fear is death—a sentence that can be brought upon them just for being homosexual, or for being perceived to be homosexual. - Queer somalis talk to new president (2004): The group's Executive Director, Hadiyo "Boston" Jimcale, said the new president promised to her that under his government all Somalis would be safe, over a telephone conversation she had with the president on Wednesday. She stated that the country's new laws (put in the books in 2000 by a worldwide recognized temporary national government in Mogadishu) call for all Somalis to be treated equal under the law, regardless of their sexualities or religious beliefs..

Somali lesbians sentenced to death. (2001, Alternate Link): A Somali lesbian couple has been sentenced to death by an Islamic court in Bosaso, the commercial capital of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeast Somalia, according to IRIN and other media. It is the first case of its kind in culturally conservative Somalia, where homosexuality is prohibited. They were taken to the Bosaso Islamic court on 19 February, where they said they living together as "man and wife". The Bosaso court found the two unnamed women guilty of "exercising unnatural behaviour" and sentenced them to death by stoning in a verdict difficult to defend even within the Muslim Shari'a laws. - Somali 'lesbian sentences' denied. (2001): Police in Puntland have denied a story widely reported in Somalia that two women were sentenced to death for being lesbians. According to Mogadishu newspapers, the women were reported to have been found guilty of "exercising unnatural behaviour" by having a lesbian relationship. But police in Boosaaso, where the sentence was reported to have been passed, say the case never came before the courts. .

Soul mates: The price of being gay in Somalia (2006, Alternate Link): A year after meeting, the boys had "accidental" sex one night. "We were just playing and it just happened," says Sakariye. Well, it happened and happened and happened. For another three years, the boys had sex on a regular basis. In Somalia, where the couple is from, it is not uncommon for boys to have sex with each other. What is uncommon, however, that these boys' sexual "experiments" had gone beyond the age usually expected to stop. At the age of 16 and 17, the boys were still having sex. "After a certain time, I couldn't imagine living without him." Abdulle says. So, love came and knocked on their doors.

Human rights and security in central and southern Somalia (2007, PDF Download): According to this information it is very clear that homosexuality is not acceptable in Somalia and that it is illegal...  if someone were found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts the consequences would be death. OXFAM/Novib explained that, according to the sources homosexuality is so unacceptable and so taboo, that the most likely scenario would be that any person who is a homosexual or even thought to be, would be killed... Furthermore OXFAM/Novib explained that the only known area in Somalia where there is limited acceptability of homosexuality is in Merka, where a minority clan, more linked to the Arab community, marginally accepts homosexuality within its community. This also presupposes that the information about the individual is kept within the community, because if the other clans in the area were to find out, the person would suffer the consequences.... Yassin confirmed that there was a more liberal attitude towards homosexuals in Merka and that there is a gay/lesbian community in the town. Merka is to be considered the most liberal community in Somalia... Abdulle confirmed that homosexuality is taboo in Somalia. However, homosexuality does exist among Somalis, but it can never be debated in or exposed to the public domain. Should a homosexual be disclosed or openly admit he or she is homosexual that person would be killed...

Resources: - Behind the Mask - A Web Site on Gay and Lesbian Affairs in Africa. - Africa by Country: Somalia. Somalia Archive. - African Veil: Countries Covered: Somalia - Queer afrol. - Afrol News; Gay/Lesbian Archives. - news & Articles: Africa. - Somali Gay Community Website: Personal Stories.

Global Gayz: Africa: Somalia News Reports From 2004 to the Present. - ILGA: Africa: Somalia. - LGBT rights in Somalia. - Sodomy Laws: Somalia. - Human Rights Watch: Use Search Function. - Amnesty International: Use Search Function. - Pink News: Europe's Largest Gay News Service: Africa. - AsylumLaw.Org: Sexual Minorities & HIV Status: Documents / Reports / Website Links / Organizations. - Somalia Individual Documents Since 2000. - Links to News Sources for GLBT World.

MSMGF News Articles & Documents Resources. By Region & Country:  - Sub-Saharan Africa: - Somalia.

DJIBOUTI - Illiberal Attitudes (2004): Djibouti gained independence from France in 1977 but unlike most former French colonies the attitudes of the public and the laws relating to homosexuality are far from liberal, which may be due to the influence of Islamic law. Horn of Africa correspondent, Faro interviews a Djiboutian.:. According to Kasdil (names have been changed) a man from Djibouti, there are many gay and lesbian people living in the country but they have little by way of a social life. "We are living undercover, unconfident and in fear... "Our general situation is very dangerous because we do not have an association which can represent us in a legal fight; we don't have much Internet, we don't have any services for health, education or fun. We look to worldwide organizations of human rights for helping us." - Djibouti: Situation of homosexuals in Djibouti; treatment by the public and by the authorities; state protection available (2002-2004) . -

LGBT rights in Djibouti: The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "there were no known reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation. Societal norms did not allow for the public discussion of homosexuality, and persons did not openly acknowledge having a homosexual orientation."

Global Gayz: Africa: Djibouti. - ILGA: Africa: Djibouti- Sodomy Laws: Djibouti. - Human Rights Watch: Use Search Function. - Amnesty International: Use Search Function. - Pink News: Europe's Largest Gay News Service: Africa. - AsylumLaw.Org: Sexual Minorities & HIV Status: Documents / Reports / Website Links / Organizations. - Links to News Sources for GLBT World.

MSMGF News Articles & Documents Resources. By Region & Country:  - Sub-Saharan Africa: - Djiboutia.

ERITREA -  Eritrea: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (2006): Homosexuality is illegal, and homosexuals faced severe societal discrimination.  - UPR Statement on LGBTI health in Eritrea (2010): UPR Statement on criminalization of same-sex relationships in Eritrea and urgent required measures to recognize and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities, and extend HIV intervention programs to include same-sex practicing people. - Homosexuality "against Eritrean values" (2010): Eritrean government officials for the first time have answered to rights activists' questions about the country's tough anti-homosexuality laws. Legalisation was out of question, the official said. At a recent UN review of the human rights situation in Eritrea, Rowland Jide Macaulay of the Canadian HIV AIDS Legal Network challenged the Eritrean government to "repeal all legislative provisions which criminalise sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex." According to the Canadian rights activist, the criminalisation of consensual homosexual acts was a threat to public health as it "frustrated creating access to HIV prevention and awareness programmes for men who had sex with men." Moreover, it was contrary to international law, human rights and "likely to exacerbate incidents of harassment, abuse, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions.".

Eritrea questioned over anti-gay laws (2010): At a recent UN review of the human rights situation in Eritrea, Rowland Jide Macaulay of the Canadian HIV AIDS Legal Network challenged the Eritrean government to “repeal all legislative provisions which criminalise sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex.”... According to Mr Abraham, the Eritrean government rejected the demand to legalise same-sex activity between consenting adults, which was “in direct contradiction with the values and traditions of the Eritrean people.” Homosexuality is illegal in Eritrea, according to the 1957 penal code, which is an inheritance from colonial times. The penal code strictly prohibits “sexual deviations,” among which is performing sexual acts with someone of the same sex. So-called “unnatural carnal offences” can be punished with imprisonment of between 10 days and 3 years. Little is known about the practical use of this law as the state-controlled Eritrean press does not report about homosexuality at all. But according to a report from the British Embassy in Asmara, people who participate in “such an act are prosecuted and punished whenever found guilty.” In 2004, authorities reportedly expelled a number of foreigners from Eritrea on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Legal but not accepted (2003): ... the Minster of Justice said, "There is no homosexual person in my country, that's why homosexuality is legal. That means, still we have a responsibility to defend our people from this kind of cultural aggression from Europe." BtM: What is the problem facing individual gays, governmental homophobic behaviour, as well as discrimination? M: Some of them who I meet are HIV positive, they don't have any awareness as gays that they should use a condom, they think condoms are only for heterosexuals. Most of them are in confusion, they don't have interest to accept who they are. One of my close friends goes to church to get cured. Another one killed himself a year ago. But, no one, not even his family knew on what grounds he committed suicide. Only me and other friends of mine knew... Soon I will do my effort to establish an Eritrea gay group on the site. It will be a good opportunity to exchange our experiences and to share our common problems. - 6 men arrested in Asmara. - Eritrea Expels Three Hotel Employees for "Immorality" (2004): An unnamed source close to the three employees said "one of them at least was homosexual and did not try to hide it." A diplomat in Asmara, who asked not to be named, said: "It is the first time such a reason is put forward, homosexuality is not forbidden by the law, but it is not accepted by tradition."

Doing things together (2002): “I love everyone,” Peter tells us for the fourth time. “Especially Jerry. I love him most of all. I want to marry Jerry.” The laughter increases, some genuine, some embarrassed. A couple of his friends frown and try to calm him down. For a while, he does so, but he continues muttering how much he loves everyone, especially Jerry. Curious, I leave Ed, promising to return. Peter smiles at me "Enjoying yourself?" He nods. “Why do you like Jeff?” I ask. “Because we do things together,” he tells me. I'm tempted to ask more, but we're in public and it's easier to put two and two together without further evidence. “We do things together!” he repeats loudly enough for others to hear and turn. Among them Jerry, now arm in arm with another young man. Again Jerry's only response is a quiet smile... The next morning, Peter appears at the near-empty hotel where I am staying. We sit in the bare hall and exchange pleasantries. I assume he has come to apologise for the previous evening. Some form of apology is indeed lurking in the back of his mind, but foremost is the belief that I still have the key of his car. I describe the friend I gave it to. His face falls; the man concerned will not be free until the afternoon... As we walk, I begin my spiel of the importance of condom use, not specifying the sex of the partner. He confirms that he has a partner and uses a condom. Another question elicits the pronoun she. Further gentle questioning reveals that all his partners have been women. A whole hypothesis begins to falter. It crumbles when Peter asks if I am married. I repeat what I had said earlier, about living with a man and add “I prefer men.”  He is nonplussed, does not at first believe me. Then the conversation dies. Where was the faultline? I wonder. How did this misunderstanding begin? Did I imagine too much, is he telling me too little, surely Jerry is gay, what is the meaning of Peter's "love", do the embracing arms only embrace? I want to ask all these questions but remain silent...

Resources: - Behind the Mask - A Web Site on Gay and Lesbian Affairs in Africa. - Africa by Country:  Eritrea. Eritrea Archive.- African Veil: Countries Covered: Eritrea. - Queer afrol. - Afrol News; Gay/Lesbian Archives. - news & Articles: Africa

Global Gayz: Africa: Eritrea  News Reports from 2003 to the Present. - ILGA: Africa: Eritrea. - LGBT rights in Eritrea. - Sodomy Lawa: Eritrea. - Human Rights Watch: Use Search Function. - Amnesty International: Use Search Function. - Pink News: Europe's Largest Gay News Service: Africa. - AsylumLaw.Org: Sexual Minorities & HIV Status: Documents / Reports / Website Links / Organizations. Eritrea Documents. - Links to News Sources for GLBT World.

MSMGF News Articles & Documents Resources. By Region & Country:  - Sub-Saharan Africa: - Eritrea.

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