Rights groups call for Lebanon to revoke anti-LGBTI+ bills

Cairo, Sep 5 (EFE).- Global and regional rights groups Tuesday urged Lebanon to withdraw the bills, which criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults.

The Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression in Lebanon, comprised of 15 Lebanese and international organizations, alleged that the Lebanese authorities were systematically attacking the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The coalition, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, said the bills followed “a series of hostile incidents over the past year and an unlawful ministerial ban on events around homosexuality.”

In a statement, the grouping of the nonprofit organizations pointed out that in August, two Lebanese officials introduced separate bills that “would explicitly criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults and punish anyone who ‘promotes homosexuality’ with up to three years in prison.”

The statement said attacks on sexual minority groups were taking place amid a crippling economic crisis that has had disastrous consequences for human rights and pushed over 80 percent of the population into poverty, particularly impacting marginalized sections.

“As Lebanon sinks deeper into crisis, the authorities are cracking down on the rights of LGBTI people and allowing unchecked violence against them,” said Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Lebanese authorities should immediately scrap the proposed anti-LGBTI laws and end the ongoing attacks on basic freedoms.”

Human Rights Watch has previously documented the abuses included in this report, which have been ongoing since 2017, as well as recent attacks targeting LGBTI people in Lebanon.

The statement recalled that on Aug.23, men from a group that calls itself “Soldiers of God,” which is openly hostile toward LGBTIs, attacked people at a bar in Beirut hosting a drag event.

They beat up some of the attendees and threatened further violence against LGBTI people, the statement said. No one has been arrested for that assault.

“The series of attacks on fundamental freedoms in a country once proud to embrace diversity sparked a backlash against state-sponsored repression by media organizations and civil society in Lebanon who stood in solidarity with LGBTI people.”

Wadih Al-Asmar, president of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), said the Lebanese government was undermining basic rights while failing to enact urgent economic and justice reforms.

“LGBTI rights are fundamental human rights and stifling them as an excuse to keep a portion of society marginalized under the false pretext of so-called public morals is detrimental to everyone’s human rights.”

According to the statement, the proposed legislation would amend Article 534 to criminalize “any relation, act or sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature between men or between women, regardless of consent.”

The bills propose a prison sentence of one to three years and a maximum fine, equivalent to five times the minimum wage at the time of sentencing.

The draft law would also impose the same sentence on anyone “promoting, facilitating, hiding or inciting others on committing such acts, through any means possible.” EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button