LGBT rights in Syria

LGBT rights in Syria Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
(Syrian Arab Republic)
Up to 3 years imprisonment
(Syrian Arab Republic)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Syria face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

LGBT rights

Syrian Civil War

Army of Conquest

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham

In territories in Syria controlled by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, LGBT Syrians are arrested, beaten, and executed.[1][2]

Syrian Arab Republic

Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, prohibits having homosexual relations, i.e. "carnal relations against the order of nature", and provides for up to 3 three-years imprisonment,[3] although the law is not strictly enforced.[4] Most LGBT Syrians, like most minorities in Syria, support President Bashar al-Assad.[5][4]


In 2004 a Syrian woman named Hiba came forward as a transsexual who had been given permission to have a sex change operation.[6]

2003 UN vote

In 2003 Syria, in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, voted to postpone a United Nations draft resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. The vote was 24-17. The draft resolution would have the Commission express deep concern at the occurrence of violations of human rights in the world against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation; stress that human rights and fundamental freedoms were the birthright of all human beings, and that the universal nature of these rights and freedoms was beyond question; and call upon all States to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

HIV/AIDS issues

The first reported cases of HIV infection were in 1987.[7]

In 2005 the Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments publicly stated that HIV-AIDS were divine punishment for people that engaged in fornication and homosexuality. That same year, the Health Ministry stated that only 369 persons in Syria were infected with HIV and that the government offers such persons "up-to-date medicines to combat this disease freely".[8] Yet, Non-governmental organizations estimate that there are truly at least five times that many and the United Nations chastised the government for its ineffective prevention methods.[9][10]

Beyond tolerating the work of some NGOs, the government has established voluntary clinics that can test for AIDS-HIV and distribute some educational pamphlets, but comprehensive public education, especially for LGBT people, does not exist.[11]

Instead, the government launched a limited AIDS-HIV educational program for youth in secondary schooling.[12]

Syrian Opposition

Mahmoud Hassino, gay Syrian opposition activist, journalist and started the online magazine Mawaleh, notes that regardless of the outcome of the civil war, work needs to be done in the civil right area on behalf of all Syrians, not just the LGBT community. Miral Bioredda, a secular leader of the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, said "Personally I see homosexuality as a private matter. But Syrian society would say "no way" if gays rose to claim their rights. Developing a civil society will take time." Nasradeen Ahme, a member of the Free Syrian Army, said "If I was in charge I would enforce tougher laws against homosexuals. If someone said homosexuals should be stoned to death as in Iran and Saudi Arabia, I would not object."[5]

Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava

The People's Protection Units (YPG) bans “gays” from the organization.[13]

Islamic State

See also


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