Egypt’s Denial of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

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03/21/2020

The Egyptian government is refusing to recognize the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, flouting its responsibility to protect the rights of everyone. On March 12, during its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), where members of the United Nations Human Rights Council weigh in on countries’ human rights records, Egypt rejected recommendations by several states to end arrests and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Egypt responded that it “does not recognize the terms mentioned in this recommendation,” denying the existence of sexual orientation and gender identity. This outrageous statement from Egyptian officials comes at a time when the COVID-19 health crisis is threatening already vulnerable groups, including LGBT people detained in Egypt’s prisons on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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