Human rights defender

Diadji

Shelter CityThe HagueThemeLGBTICountrySenegal

LGBTI Rights Defender was a Shelter City guest in 2015. During his time in The Hague Djiadi followed trainings, expanded his international network and was free from threats and harassment.

 

In December 2008 Diadji was imprisoned and sentenced to 8 years in prison only because of his sexual orientation. After diplomatic pressure from the French and government and international organisations he was released on 20 April 2009. However, the intense media attention he received in the period before he was arrested, the court process and detention made him a public figure. This had negative consequences for his personal life and safety.

About Diadji

After he became a public figure he could no longer hide his sexual orientation. This made Diadji one of the few openly gay leaders in Senegal. Diadji continues conduct his work under in an environment where there is a strong social stigma against homosexuality. The trainings that Djiadi followed during his stay in The Hague enabled him to conduct his work in safer and more efficient way.

Homosexuality in Senegal is a topic that is not only taboo, but generates strong and sometimes violent reactions. At the source of this intolerance is the repression and criminalization in law of sexual relations between consenting partners of the same sex. Also, politic and religious leaders and the media use the latent homophobia to gain more public support, contributing to further feed the hatred against homosexuals. For the LGBTI community, the results are social and economic marginalization, which forces the LGBTI community into silence and secrecy. One of the major concerns has been the increased vulnerability to HIV which arises in the marginalized population, all the more since the prevalence of HIV among LBTIs is of 21% in Senegal (against about 1% in the population at large).

Diadji says that the situation in Senegal will not improve if the gay people leave the country. African gay leaders should strive for improvement with the help of the whole world. During his stay in The Netherlands Diadji has given many lectures to make the Dutch population more aware of the situation for the LGBTI community in Senegal. He has also met Dutch LGBTI organisations. The most important thing for Diadji was that he was able to walk on the streets without feeling any fear.

 

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