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Homosexual men and lesbian women tortured because of their sexuality.

Men suspected of engaging in "debauchery" (homosexual activity) in Egypt are breaking the law. As part of a crackdown, suspects are being subjected to anal examinations which purportedly confirm homosexual activity, a claim that has no scientific validity. These examinations are being carried out forcibly in what amounts to rape, or even multiple rape when a number of doctors are involved. This routine humiliation and torture by physicians is being used as a political weapon in Egypt and is a serious breach not only of medical ethics but also of human rights. (1)

Lesbian women are also subjected to violence because of their sexual orientation, both in countries where lesbianism is illegal and those where it is not. The torture can take a number of forms: repeated rape at the instigation of a family to "cure" a woman or get her pregnant; classifying lesbianism as a mental disease to be treated; imprisoning women "out of control"; and beatings and rape by police, prison guards or male co-prisoners. Until and unless such torture is highlighted, their rights will continue to be denied. (2)

(1.) Long S. When doctors torture: the anus and the state in Egypt and beyond. Health and Human Rights 2004;7(2): 114-40.

(2.) Hawthorne S. The torture of lesbians: where is the outcry? Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights 2004;2:12-14.
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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Law and Policy
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:May 1, 2005
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