This week, Sudan has announced that they are lifting the death penalty and flogging punishments for gay sex.
They are also looking at banning female genital mutilation, with further steps to be announced.
Sudan has announced that there will no longer be the death penalty or flogging for homosexual sex, an important step forward.
Whilst these are great movements forward, engaging in homosexual sex is still punishable by jail time from five years to life. These have changed from the previous penalties which were 100 lashes for the first offence, five years in jail for the second, and the death penalty for the third.
This legal amendment was announced alongside plans to decriminalise he abandonment of religion, apostasy, and to permit non-Muslims to consume alcohol. Female genital mutilation is included with that ban, alongside new permission for women to travel with children without permit from a male relative.
Noor Sultan, founder of an LGBTQI+ group in Egypt and Sudan, said that “these amendments are still not enough but they’re a great first step for the transitional government that’s trying to implement changes.” She also expressed her concern that “I think society is still reluctant to accept such changes, but I hope that the government will continue in its path toward reform.
Sudan is one of many countries in Africa and the Middle East where sodomy is criminalised, and some countries like Iran, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen still have the death penalty imposed.
Despite these important first steps, advocacy groups remain vigilant that the proper way forward means decriminalising homosexuality altogether.