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Amnesty International has just published a report about Egypt’s women activists.
( March 2013 – Index: MDE 12/011/2013 )
On of the women it interviews was Ayesha Amin (name changed) about her attempts to push forward the rights of LGBT people in Egypt. She hopes to provide safe houses for Lesbian women at risk of violence and to help them find jobs so that they can live independently. However, she stresses that psychological support for young women struggling to come to terms with their sexuality is just as important.
She remembers that during “During the 18 days of the ‘25 January Revolution’, I had hopes that things would improve….. There was a feeling of freedom and acceptance in Tahrir Square that gave me hope.”
However by the end of last year those hopes had faded – “After the first Constitutional Declaration, I was wondering why did we do all this, why did all those people die? …It is not about the government, you have to change mentalities and that takes time.”
Amnesty’s report finished with this depressive summation of the situation in Egypt –
“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.”