The struggle for the rights of LGBTQI+ people is a core part of the Human Rights struggle.
All people have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination, and stigma. International human rights law establishes legal obligations on States to ensure that every person, without distinction, can enjoy these rights.
Seventy-one years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed that everyone, without distinction “has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person.” When there is a pattern of hate-motivated violence – one, for example, based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity – and the State does not act to prevent and effectively address those attacks, it is failing to live up to that obligation.
It is fundamental to the cause of human rights that we promote equality, and the protection of all people from discrimination and violence.
It should be obvious that there are many different ways to be a human being. We need to respect and embrace these differences -- not criminalize them, not attack people, not deprive them of equal rights or the protection of the law, just because they are seen as “different”.
We remain seriously concerned that all around the world, millions of LGBTQI+ individuals, those perceived as LGBTI and their families face widespread human rights violations. This is a cause for alarm for all people in the world.
We need to change minds. At the core of killings and violence against the LGBTQI+ community are prejudice and hate. We will only prevent these crimes if we are brave enough to address these factors, across society.
In Egypt, there have been patterns of hate-motivated acts and speeches against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people; by private actors, random people and even, sometimes, local security forces. The trans women, in particular, have been at risk of these violations. Worse still, when the victims of attacks seek protection, they are frequently subjected to intimidation and abuse, including from police and justice officials.
This year only, numerous LGBTQI+ activists, defenders, and individuals have been submitted to arrests and torture. Not only are they suffering from the wild-scale repression on activists and freedom of expression, they are also facing discrimination and abuses by the Egyptian authorities due to their perceived “non-binarity” and/ or for defying social, religious and political norms.
On this day, we then ask the Egyptian government :
To protect LGBTQI+ persons from violence, torture, and ill-treatment, including by:
• Investigating, prosecuting and providing remedy for acts of violence, torture, and ill-treatment against LGBTQI+ ;
• Strengthening efforts to prevent, monitor and report such violence;
• Incorporating homophobia and transphobia as aggravating factors in-laws against hate crime and hate speech;
2. To respect international Human Rights standards, including by reviewing, repealing and establishing a
moratorium on the application of:
• Laws that criminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults;
• Laws that criminalize transgender people on the basis of their gender expression;
• Other laws used to arrest, punish or discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
3. To uphold international Human Rights standards on non-discrimination, including by:
• Prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQI+ adults, adolescents, and children in all contexts – including in education, employment, healthcare, housing, social protection, criminal justice and in asylum and detention settings;
• Ensuring legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender people without abusive requirements;
• Combating prejudice against LGBTQI+ people through dialogue, public education, and training.
We believe then it’s only by changing people’s minds and promoting equality and tolerance that social progress can happen. Today is a good day to start.