Mali LGBTI Resources


 (See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)


In Mali, homosexuality is not explicitly prohibited, however laws against public indecency may be used against LGBTI persons. Article 179 of the Malian Penal Code (unofficial translation):

‘Any act committed in public that offends the decency and the moral feelings of the persons who are involuntarily witness to it, and that is capable of disturbing public order and of causing a manifest social prejudice, is a public outrage against decency. 

The outrage against decency, committed publicly and intentionally, will be punished by three months to two years imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 francs or to only one of these two punishments.’

There are no anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBTI community from harassment and abuse. 


No published cases have been found. Would be grateful if users are able to refer us to any that involve LGBTI people in Mali. 


It is reported that majority of the Malian population view homosexual practices as “immoral and evil”. Additionally, sociocultural and religious beliefs consider homosexual practices to be unnatural and therefore, an immoral act, see Canadian report on Mali, 2014. The 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali states that despite there being no official law prohibiting homosexual activity, in practice, societal discrimination was widespread. Blatant homophobia is deeply rooted within society and that the LGBTI community face stigmatization and abuse, the worst of which is inflicted by family members. In Mali, religion and ancestral tradition influence the society’s views on same sex practices, which are seen by the majority of the population as immoral and evil acts. As many as 98% of Malian residents believe that homosexuality should be rejected by society (Pew Global Attitudes Project’s 2007 report, World Public Welcomes Global Trade- but not Immigration, p.117).  Men who have sex with men (MSM) must hide their sexual orientation because even the least suspicion of homosexual activity can lead to abuse, disgrace, and dishonor.  The fear of discovery often leads MSMs to avoid medical care in the event that they contract an STD or HIV infection, which has resulted in a drastically higher HIV infection rate among the LGBTI community than the general population (ILGA: Mali). According to IRIN Africa, the LGBTI community has a 37% infection rate (of the hundreds that were tested) as opposed to the official statistics of an infection rate among the general population at 1.3%.  The spread of infection among the LGBTI community is exacerbated by the fact that 77% of the MSMs questioned admitted to having unprotected sex. 

Religion is a large part of the reason why homosexuality is not tolerated in Mali. Over 95% of the population is religious and cultural beliefs towards the LGBTI community are negative (ILGA: Mali). Homosexuals who are discovered are banished from society and are threated with death and are subject to all sorts of intimidations and abuse.

According to the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali, there are no ‘publicly visible’ LGBTI organizations in Mali. ‘The free association of LGBTI organizations was impeded by a law prohibiting associations “for an immoral purpose.”’  The NGO L’Association de Recherche, de Communication, et d’Accompagnement a domicile des personnes vivant avec le VIH/SIDA (ARCAD/SIDA) that tries to deal with HIV/AIDS prevention in Mali has faced public disapproval and they had to cancel one of their awareness days due to protests from the general population in 2009. In the aftermath, the organization has had to keep a low profile to prevent further disruption. Unfortunately, the stigmatization of ARCAD/SIDA has seemingly had a significant impact on the organization’s ability to productively do their work (ILGA: Mali). 

Recently, there has been noticeable change in recent years comes stemming from the consciousness raising of community organizations in the fight against HIV, such as ARCAD-SIDA, which has demonstrated the considerable vulnerability of these sexual minorities, see ARCAD-SIDA Mali director’s address, Nov 2021)






Originally researched by: Rhiannon Archer

Email: rhi.archer[at]


Last Updated November 2021