April 22, 2024

Egyptian doctors accused of human rights abuse over gay crackdown

Unethical to collaborate with government
Accused men led into court in 2001 trialEgyptian doctors have come under fire for collaborating with their government’s drive to jail homosexuals. A letter from 117 different human rights groups complains that doctors employed by the Ministry of Health subjected several men to intrusive and abusive HIV tests without their consent. Earlier this month four HIV-positive men were convicted of the "habitual practice of debauchery" and sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of police supervision. A fifth man who was HIV-negative was also convicted. "This case involved shocking abuse of human rights in addition to flagrant violation of universally medical ethics," said Susannah Sirkin, of Physicians for Human Rights.

According to Human Rights Watch, Egyptian doctors take an oath based upon the Geneva Declaration of the World Medical Association which states that "the health of my patients will be my first consideration… I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat." The human rights groups also reminded the Egyptian authorities that criminalising gay sex "violates Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law to respect and protect individual privacy and personal autonomy. The imprisonment of individuals for actual or alleged consensual same-sex relations between adults in private is a serious violation of human rights." ~ BMJ, Apr 20