Ägypten: Kämpfen für Gerechtigkeit, Frauenrechte und LGBT-Rechte – Aktivistinnen berichten

In Ägypten kommen zwei Jahre nach dem „Frühling“ Frauen, aber auch LGBTI, immer mehr unter Druck.

In einem 28-seitigen Report portraitiert Amnesty International verschiedene Aktivistinnen. Wir greifen hier die LGBT-Aktivistin auf.

Wenige Themen in Ägypten sind umstrittener als LGBT-Rechte. Homophobie und Diskriminierung von LGBT sind weit verbreitet und Misshandlungen durch staatliche und nicht-staatliche Akteure auf Grund der sexuellen Orientierung und / oder geschlechtlichen Identität stellen eine echte Bedrohung dar. Ein UN-Berichterstatter stellte fest, dass Menschenrechte für LGBT nicht gelten.

Ayesha Amin berichtete Amnesty International, dass es unmöglich ist, offen für LGBT-Rechte in Ägypten einzustehen und jene zu unterstützen, deren Rechte verletzt worden sind.
So ist ihr Engagement „virtuell“ und sie benutzt verschiedene Profilnamen. „Unser einziges Tor ist online“, seufzt sie und erkennt, dass sie jene, die keinen Zugang zum Internet haben, nicht erreichen kann.

Da gab es ein Gefühl von Freiheit und Akzeptanz am Tahrir Platz. Das gab mir Hoffnung.” – Ayesha Amin, online-Aktivistin für Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle und Transgender. (“There was a feeling of freedom and acceptance in Tahrir Square that gave me hope.”)

Amnesty Report: Egypt’s Women Activsts describe their struggle (Englisch, MDE 12/011/2013)

Amnesty International-Länderbericht Ägypten 2013 und 2012 und 2011.
Amnesty Schweiz – laufend Aktuelles zu Ägypten.
All My Life – Film von Maher Sabry – schwule Liebe in Ägypten (Nov 2011)
Zehn-Schritte-Manifest für Menschenrechte (Okt 2011)
Missachtung der Rechte von Menschen mit AIDS/HIV durch Ärzte und Justiz (Juni 2008)
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Ayesha Amin – online-support for LGBT

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Fighting for Justice and Human Rights – Egypt’s Women Activsts describe their struggle, March 2013, MDE 12/011/2013.

“There was a feeling of freedom and acceptance in Tahrir Square that gave me hope.” – Ayesha Amin, online-support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.

Ayesha Amin (name changed to protect her identity) is in her thirties, and since 2007 has been trying to create an informal network to advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Egypt.

Few topics in Egypt are more contentious than LGBT rights, as homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people are rife and abuses by state and non-state actors on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity are a real threat. Ayesha Amin told Amnesty International that because it is impossible to openly advocate for LGBT rights in Egypt and provide support to those whose rights have been violated, all her activism has been virtual and done by creating fake on-line profiles. “Our only gate is online”, she sighed, acknowledging that she is unable to reach those without access to the Internet.

She said that she considered herself lucky because her closest relatives have accepted her to some degree, even though they think that being a lesbian is a temporary, curable disease and hope that she will be eventually reformed.

She wants to help those who are less lucky: those whose families imprison them at home when they suspect something; those who are taken to mental institutions by their families; those who are forcibly married.

Her dream is to create safe houses for lesbian women facing such situations to given them refuge when at risk of violence; to find them jobs to enable them to support themselves and live independently. Ayesha Amin told Amnesty International that some gay men and lesbian women enter into “cover marriages” with each other in order to ease social pressures while allowing both to express themselves freely, which many feel is the only available, practical option given the discriminatory attitudes in Egypt.

Ayesha Amin also wants to create a network to provide psychological support to young women who feel isolated and who struggle with their own sexuality. One of her current projects is the creation of an art house for LGBT individuals to meet in a safe space.

She is already carrying out some of her ideas informally with a group of friends and likeminded people, who through their personal connections and donations support those in need by hosting them when they escape home, and providing them with material and psychological support.

One woman she helped is 22. Her brother discovered her on-line chats and she was then imprisoned at home by her family for a year and a half. She became suicidal. Ayesha Amin spent many hours talking to her on the phone and on-line providing her with emotional support and advice and discussing possible solutions.

Another girl approached Ayesha Amin on-line seeking counselling after her father raped her while her mother pretended not to notice. Other women approach Ayesha Amin on-line asking for sexual advice, and reassurances that their feelings are normal.

“During the 18 days of the ‘25 January Revolution’, I had hopes that things would improve, that there would be an opening in society, more tolerance. But we need re-education and awareness-raising. We cannot change superficially. There was a feeling of freedom and acceptance in Tahrir Square that gave me hope.”

She believes that such hopes have been frustrated by various moves by the authorities, such as when President Morsi decreed he had wide-ranging powers in November 2012. “After the first Constitutional Declaration, I was wondering why did we do all this, why did all those people die?” she said “…It is not about the government, you have to change mentalities and that takes time.”

Is she optimistic for the future?

“I am optimistic by nature,” she said. “I believe in people, and that people can evolve and change for the best.”

LGBT-Rights in Egypt

Like in many countries, Egyptians who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual frequently face discrimination and violence. They have also faced repression from the authorities, who do not recognize their rights.

Under Hosni Mubarak, Amnesty International documented cases where individuals were targeted for their sexual behaviour and accused of “habitual debauchery” under Egypt’s Law on Debauchery (Law 10 of 1961 on the Combat of Prostitution). Little definition is provided for “debauchery” within the law itself, but the Egyptian judiciary has applied the term to same sex relations in the context of prostitution of men as well as consensual sexual relations between men in private.

In May 2001 some 60 men were arrested in Cairo, the majority of them while at a night club on a boat known as the “Queen Boat”, eventually leading to the conviction and imprisonment of 21 men for “habitual debauchery”, one for “contempt of religion” and another on both charges. In a new crackdown that began in October 2007, 24 men were arrested in Cairo and Alexandria on charges of the “habitual practice of debauchery”. Most were forcibly subjected to anal examinations to “prove” that they had engaged in homosexual conduct. Most of the men were sentenced to prison terms. In January 2009, a further 10 men were detained, charged with “habitual debauchery” and subjected to testing for HIV/AIDS and anal examinations without their consent. They were later released on bail.

In June 2012, an Egyptian UN representative told the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and on Countering Terrorism that sexual orientation was “highly controversial” and “not part of the universally recognized human rights.” He said that the Special Rapporteurs should concentrate on the human rights of “real people”.

The effective criminalization of consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex is discriminatory and contrary to Egypt’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects the rights to freedom from discrimination (articles 2 and 26), freedom of expression (Article 19), freedom from arbitrary interference with the right to privacy (Article 17) and freedom of conscience (Article 18). The right to privacy is also violated through coercive measures such as mandatory testing for HIV/AIDS, and the right to liberty and security of the person (Article 9) is violated when HIV status is used to justify deprivation of liberty or detention.

Source, Amnesty Report:
Egypt’s Women Activsts describe their struggle (Engl., MDE 12/011/2013, S. 23-25)