Report: Denial of freedom of LGBTQ+ artistic expression in Sudan

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01/03/2021

At least three LGBTQ+ organisations in Sudan are forced to operate underground, forcing artists to work with virtually no financial support, according to a report published on December 10 by Freemuse. In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Ola Diab, a Sudanese journalist based in Qatar, said that there is “still significant resistance in Sudan – politically, socially and religiously.” In July 2019, Freemuse spoke to two anonymous activists from Sudan who operate an underground gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, and other (LGBTQ+) artists’ organisation. According to the activists, “at least three organisations in Sudan are forced to operate in this way – illegally and with no bank accounts.” The Freemuse report, Painting the Rainbow: How LGBTI Freedom of Artistic Expression is Denied, highlights 149 acts of artistic violations against LGBTQ+ persons and art documented between January 2018 and June 2020. It is virtually impossible to register LGBTQ+ organisations in the country, “despite human rights organisations’ attempts to legally challenge discriminatory national legislation.” Homosexuality was punishable by death penalty nationwide, a policy brought in under British colonial systems of justice, until very recently. In July, the government announced that the punishments will be reduced to prison terms, ranging from five years to life sentences, although this is not confirmed.

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