On 22 September 2017, the rainbow flag was raised during a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo, Egypt. Following this, the Egyptian state has conducted an aggressive crackdown on individuals suspected to be members of the LGBT community. This crackdown has seen widespread human rights violations, at the hands of Egyptian authorities, including detentions without trial, torture and instances of ‘anal testing’ to determine the detainee’s sexuality. In total, 62 individuals have been arrested for ‘promoting sexually deviant activities’. Many of the arrests have taken place following police infiltration of alleged LGBT ‘safe spaces’, such as clubs and bars. This crackdown has also extended to online platforms, with many people taking to social media to hunt down, bully and harass those suspected of as ‘LGBT’. The police has also utilised dating applications, such as Grindr, and Facebook to find individuals with non-normative genders and sexualities. The situation is at a critical stage, and looks set to worsen in the coming weeks, if policy makers, diplomats and international media take no action against the government. Read our policy brief for further details.
Honour killing is a term used to denote a form of gender-based violence in which women, often young and unmarried, are brutally murdered by family members for being allegedly involved in illicit sexual practices, therefore dishonouring herself and her family. There is no accurate or current data on honour killings statistics in the Middle East and North Africa due to their unreported and often overlooked nature, and the refusal of continued governments to address the issue.
This policy brief will introduce the notion of honour killings, and highlight key obstacles and recommendations in tackling this long-standing issue throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This brief will also highlight some of the ways in which honour killings – because of their reliance on gender and sexual taboos – can be incorporated into broader sexual and gender rights advocacy strategies.
This policy brief builds on the arguments and conclusions set out in CTDC’s publication titled Conceptualising Sexualities in the MENA Region: Undoing LGBTQI Categories. In this document, we compliment this extensive, research-led paper by setting out a number of concrete recommendations for practitioners, policy makers and activists from the region working to improve the situation facing, non-normative people commonly referred to as LGBTQI peoples. In light of the key challenges facing this group, which include sexual, physical and mental violence, economic marginalisation, homelessness, poor sexual health service provisions and, in instances of displacement, barriers to international protection, we stress the need for research to map on to practice. Click here for the full policy brief.
Breaking Taboo through Grassroots Advocacy: Inclusive HIV/AIDS Programming in the MENA Region
The MENA region receives only a fraction of the total global funds directed toward HIV/AIDS projects. This is despite evidence that HIV/AIDS prevalence is rising in the region at much faster rates than anywhere else in the world, particularly among MSM, LGBT and other vulnerable groups such as women and children. This policy brief presents recommendations for HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in the MENA region to be more effective. The full policy brief can be accessed via this link: Inclusive HIV/AIDS Programming in the MENA Region: Policy Brief.