|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Press release from PAI.
Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (PAI) would like to congratulate Egyptian LGBTI people on the resignation of the former President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak.
We understand that under his regime that LGBTI people were displaced and seriously punished for same gender relationships, expression and behaviour.
Egypt’s legislation under Mubarak punishes LGBTI people, many were persecute, intimidated and discriminated against on the grounds of Sexual Orientation and gender identity, thus denied full constitutional rights to health and freedom.
The criminalization of homosexual conduct under Mubarak placed Egypt at odds with the implementation of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the laws under Mubarak also violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee's 1994 ruling in the case Toonen v. Australia, laws criminalizing homosexual conduct violate the right to privacy protected by article 17 of the ICCPR.
We also note that the lack of support by the previous regime hampered Egypt's efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. HIV/AIDS affects all people, however, the law would force a part of Egypt’s population into silence and invisibility. Such a move would cripple life-saving outreach, education, and care efforts. UNAIDS and other key actors in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic all recognize that criminalization of consensual homosexual conduct has a negative impact on the spread of the virus.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a statement, saying: “Laws criminalizing people on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity violate the principle of non-discrimination. They also fuel violence, help to legitimize homophobia and contribute to a climate of hate...No doubt deeply rooted cultural sensitivities can be aroused when we talk about sexual orientation. Social attitudes run deep and take time to change. But cultural considerations should not stand in the way of basic human rights” He also said “We cannot stay quiet when people are denied fundamental rights, whatever their race or faith or age or gender or sexual orientation,”.
Whilst we congratulate Egyptians for this change, we therefore urge the transition government of Egypt to;
• Apply national legislation to individuals without discrimination based on their belonging to a religious/spiritual minority or on sexual orientation;
• Review national legal provisions, which are open to abuse for persecution and intimidation on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity or of persons living with HIV/AIDS ;
• Fully implement Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Signed - PAI Board, members and organisations
Contact: Stephane Tchakam - Communications Officer