HRW denounces forced anal, vaginal exams for homosexuality in Sri Lanka
Colombo, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- The nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced Tuesday the practice of forced anal and vaginal examinations to ascertain sexual relations between people of the same-sex in Sri Lanka.
Homosexuality is prosecuted by law in the island nation since the colonial times.
“Sri Lankan authorities have subjected at least seven people to forced physical examinations since 2017 in an attempt to provide proof of homosexual conduct,” HRW underlined in a joint statement with the country’s rights group LGBT Equal Ground.
These tests include anal and vaginal inspections that can be compared to torture, the organizations claimed, and assume “a form of sexual violence as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment”.
The activist and professor of international relations at the University of Colombo, Thiyagaraja Waradas, told EFE that this type of institutional abuse has become a “standard practice” in the island nation, and that “the authorities do not even think it is wrong”.
Sri Lankan authorities use two sections – 365 and 365A – of the outdated Penal Code inherited from the British colonial era prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and “gross indecency between persons” to prosecute sexual relations between consenting adults.
“Our legal system is based on Victorian values and laws that were followed in Great Britain during that time. It has not been amended or reformed progressively since then,” human rights lawyer Radika Gunaratne told EFE.
The conservative nature of Sri Lankan society also prevents public discussions being held concerning this “unfair and inhumane treatment,” Gunaratne added.
“There is so much stigma attached (…). If we are not willing to address this issue humanely we have failed as a society,” she stressed.
According to a 2016 HRW report, 16 out of 61 people of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community interviewed by the rights watchdog had suffered some form of physical assault, including rape, at the hands of the police.
In view of these human rights violations, HRW called on Sri Lanka to discontinue forced anal and vaginal examinations, a practice that – according to international bodies – lacks scientific validity.
“No one should be arrested, let alone subjected to torture and sexual violence, because of their perceived sexual orientation,” said HRW’s associate LGBT rights director Neela Ghoshal. EFE-EPE