South Sudan will not use underage soldiers if it is allowed to kill gays

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TOPSHOT - Child soldiers listen to a speech after being released from a group called the Cobra Faction and from the main SPLA/IO rebel faction during a ceremony in Tenet, near Pibor, on October 26, 2016. The UN children's agency UNICEF said on October 26, 2016 it had negotiated the release of 145 child soldiers from two rebel groups in South Sudan. UNICEF estimates that around 16,000 children are currently fighting or working as porters with armed groups in South Sudan, including the national army. It says that more than 800 have been recruited this year alone. / AFP / Charles Atiki Lomodong (Photo credit should read CHARLES ATIKI LOMODONG/AFP/Getty Images)

South Sudan has agreed to reevaluate its use of child soldiers, but only in condition that it will be allowed to kill gay people in the country, as they consider it to be a part of their traditional culture. The response comes after the United Nations Human Rights Council delivered a peer review at the end of last year, asking the country’s leaders to decriminalize homosexuality. In the country, law dictates that “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. There are no LGBT groups and all gay people in Sudan are closeted because of a fear for their freedom and life. Elizabeth Deng, a researcher for Amnesty International in South Sudan, told Gay Star News: “Given the lawlessness, it’s the kind of place where you could easily end up dead because your actual or perceived sexuality. I’m sure there are plenty of gay people in South Sudan who suffer in silence. Given what they know to be the cultural hostility, it would be a huge risk to their lives if they came out. I’m not expecting the UN report to have much impact on the government’s policies.”

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