LGBT rights in Somaliland

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Somaliland face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Somaliland has been Muslim majority nation with harsh societal rules. It is dangerous for LGBT people and face up to death penality. Besides, extrajudicial killings, mob lynching used as an instrument for punishing homosexuals. Somaliland does not recognize same-sex activity abroad.

LGBT rights in Somaliland
Somaliland (orthographic projection).svg
Somaliland's controlled territory is in dark green and territory claimed in light green
StatusIllegal since 1941 (as British Somaliland Protectorate)[1][2]
PenaltyUp to Death, vigilante executions, vigilante beatings, torture,[3][4] or 3 years in prison[5]
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNone
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex unions

Law regarding same-sex sexual activityEdit

Ottoman EmpireEdit

In 1858, the Ottoman Empire legalised same-sex sexual intercourse.[1]

Italian East AfricaEdit

In 1940, Italy conquered British Somaliland and annexed it into the Italian East Africa. While Italy did not have sodomy laws since 1890, the Fascist authorities still punished homosexuals. In 1941, the British reconquered British Somaliland and re-instated their sodomy laws.[1]

British SomalilandEdit

Prior to independence from the British, the Indian Penal Code of 1860 was applied in British Somaliland.[6]

Somali RepublicEdit

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. The code has since been abolished by the United Kingdom after seeing it as one of the most discriminating laws crafted by a former world power. The United Kingdom has since then legalised homosexuality, civil partnership, and same-sex marriage.[6]


In 1991, Somaliland declared independence. Somaliland continues to apply the 1964 penal code in the country. The non-abolishment of the code is one of the reasons, noted by European scholars, why some advanced European countries won't recognize Somaliland independence.[1]

There are life threatening-events or death sentences in Somaliland and Somalia for LGBT people.[7][8]

Recognition of same-sex relationshipsEdit

Somaliland does not recognise same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships, or civil unions.

Summary tableEdit

Same-sex sexual activity legal   Punished with up to death, vigilante execution, beatings, and torture
Equal age of consent  
Anti-discrimination laws in employment  
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services  
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)  
Same-sex marriage  
Recognition of same-sex couples  
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples  
Joint adoption by same-sex couples  
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military  
Right to change legal gender  
Access to IVF for lesbians  
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples  
MSMs allowed to donate blood  

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "STATE-SPONSORED HOMOPHOBIA" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  2. ^ "Where is it illegal to be gay?". BBC News. 10 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Young Somali activist sentenced to death for being a lesbian". independent. 2016.
  4. ^ "'Don't come back, they'll kill you for being gay'". BBC. 2020.
  5. ^ "Map Shows Where It's Illegal to be Gay – 30 Years Since WHO Declassified Homosexuality as Disease". Forbes.
  6. ^ a b LEGISLATIVE DECREE NO. 5 OF 16 December 1962
  7. ^ "Young Somali activist sentenced to death for being a lesbian". independent. 2016.
  8. ^ "'Don't come back, they'll kill you for being gay'". BBC. 2020.