Universal Periodic Review:

STATEMENT CONCERNING LGBTIQ+ RIGHTS IN  Egypt

Egypt’s human rights situation is at its worst since 2014, as it has become even more evident since the recent state security’s arbitrary detainment of at least 3000 people following demonstrations in late September.

 

In this general context, the situation of LGBTIQ+ community has also worsen in the last 5 years.  Indeed, the number of people arrested annually and referred to trial in such cases increased five-fold in the period. After a rainbow flag was raised at Mashrou' Leila concert in New Cairo in September 2017, police arrested 75 people. 71 cases were heard in first- and second-instance courts in 2018. Most defendants in these cases were sentenced to one to three years in prison, some had to leave the country.(1)

 

Egypt law does not explicitly criminalizes consensual sexual relations between persons of the same-sex, posing as a woman, posing as a man, and consensual sexual acts between adults. but   but it does have several provisions that criminalize any behavior or the expression of an idea that is deemed to be immoral, scandalous or offensive to the teachings of a recognized religious leader.  Law 10/1961 on combating prostitution is largely used, particularly Article 9(c). that the existing legal framework and policies are inadequate to protect the human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and create barriers to access redress and justice. Moreover,  LGBTIQ+ persons and related activities are vulnerable to complaints, police reports, monitoring, and surveillance.

 

This year only, LGBTIQ+ activists, defenders, and individuals, have been submitted to arrests and torture, as it has been the case for Malak El-Kashif (who has been released in May), Eman Al-Helw and Hossam Ahmad - the latest two are still being preventively detained with no date of trial. 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” (i.e they don’t fit in the traditional roles, behaviors or apparences assigned to men and women in the Egyptian society).

 

Forced anal and physical examinations are also widely practiced by Egypt security forces, especially in ‘debauchery’ cases (LGBTIQ+, sex workers…). These practices are recognized as “a form of cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture” according to the HRW and other international Human Rights organizations. They violate the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples' Rights. Forced anal exams are invasive, intrusive, and profoundly humiliating. As the UN Committee against Torture has emphasized, they “have no medical justification and cannot be consented to fully.”(2)

 

On another level, the situation of people living with HIV in Egypt is also extremely worrying. According to UNAIDS there are 22 000  cases of people living with HIV in Egypt with 3600 new cases in 2017 only, which reflects the limitation of the Egyptian state in the field of awareness, testing, counselling, prevention and treatment. Officials at state-run testing and counselling centres regularly discriminate against people living with HIV, as most of the medical staff in the country. Access to treatment can be very difficult, due to bureaucratic processes, discriminations, and shortages of medicines that can sometimes last up to a few months.(3)

 

Recommendations

 

We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Egypt:

 

  • End arrests and prosecutions based on the use of Law No. 10/1961 against homosexuals.

  • End the criminalization and facilitate the activities of civil society organizations working toward gender equality and in support to the LGBTQI+ community.

  • End the police entrapment of LGBTQI+ individuals through dating apps or social media.

  • End the use of condoms, cosmetics, and feminine clothing as evidence of condemnation. 

  • End forced anal examinations, especially in ‘debauchery’ cases.

  • Ban torture in detention facilities and prisons and prosecute offenders by putting national legislation in line with international standards.

  • Establish a transparent instrument for evaluation and accountability of health service providers in state-run HIV testing and counselling centres.

  • Allow independent civil society organizations to run HIV testing and counselling centres as well as sexual health and awareness campaigns.

  • Allow access to medical treatment (HIV therapy, hormones…) to all people in need, especially in prisons and detention facilities. 

  • Designate special facilities that respect international legal standards for transgender people in prisons and detention facilities.

  1. The Trap Punishing sexual difference in Egypt, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights,2017.

  2. Dignity Debased, Forced Anal Examinations in Homosexuality Prosecutions, Human Rights Watch, 2016. 

  3.  unaids, 2018.

Update
October 2019
Attend the introductory session

Ankh worked with partners in Geneva to mobilize recommendations  about LGBT+ in Egypt with the official delegations 

13 November 2019
Three countries have made recommendations to improve the gay situation in Egypt

It is worth noting that the recommendations were as follows:
 

-Canada: Take steps to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals and ensure that they are not subject to discriminatory arrest or prosecution under criminal charges of indecency or debaucher
-Iceland: End the arrest and prosecution of people for their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and repeal laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations
-Netherlands: End the practice of entrapment and subsequent arrest and prosecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity

12 March 2020
Egypt: Refuses to protect or even recognize the rights of LGBTIQ+ people

In its response to recommendations, Egypt said that "It does not recognize the terms in these recommendations."

ANKH
Ankh association has been established by a group of activists from Egypt who have moved to France in recent years due to the difficult situation there. Our aim is to support minority rights in the Euromediterranean region.

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