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Activists Are Trying to End Forced Anal Examinations for LGBTQ People in Tunisia

Why Global Citizens Should Care
LGBTQ people around the world continue to face discrimination and violence. Rights groups, like those in Tunisia, are standing up for equity and inclusion. Join us in taking action here to advance equality and support the Global Goals.

Human rights groups are speaking out against the brutal and humiliating tests being performed on gay men in Tunisia, the Guardian reports.

Under Tunisia's current laws, gay or lesbian sex is punishable by up to three years in prison. To identify suspects, authorities have been conducting anal examinations and phone searches, which infringe on people's right to privacy and equal treatment under law enforcement.

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Shams, a Tunisian LGBTQ association, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are bringing attention to this discrimination and demanding that such invasive practices be banned.

"The Tunisian authorities have no business meddling in people's private sexual practices, brutalising and humiliating them under the guise of enforcing discriminatory laws," Amna Guellali, Tunisia's director for HRW said in a statement.

"Tunisia should abolish its antiquated anti-sodomy laws and respect everyone's right to privacy," she said.

More than 70 people were put in jail for homosexuality and sodomy in 2017, and more than 50 people have been prosecuted so far this year, according the Shams' records.

As grassroots organizations come to the defense of LGBTQ people, the Tunisian government is also taking steps to change the discriminatory laws.

The individual freedoms and equality committee, a presidential commision, called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in June. And just last month, the proposal was included in draft legislation.

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While the legislation represents a major breakthrough for the LGBTQ community in Tunisia, there is still much work to be done to ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect.

Around the world, LGBTQ people continue to face violence and imprisonment just because they of their sexual orientation. Same-sex intimacy is illegal in 73 countries and punishable by death in 10.

But some of these countries are making notable progress in the global fight for equality.

India recently paved the way by overturning a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex this past September. Activists are hopeful that Kenya will do the same in an upcoming court hearing.