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LGBTQI persons in Lebanon can no longer be charged

30-1-2017

The Legal Agenda reported that Single Criminal Judge in Metn, Rabih Maaluf issued last week a decision to annul pursuits of  LGBTQI persons who were charged based on article 534 of the penal code, which states that “any intercourse act contrary to the order of nature is punishable by prison for a period ranging from one month to one year, and a fine ranging from 200 thousand to one million LL”. The importance of the decision, according to the Legal Agenda, is in basing itself on article 183 of the penal code, where it is considered that “the alleged actions constitute a practice of human rights without any infringement”. In his analysis of “right”, the decision considered that the principle of equality among human beings is one of the most important foundations of a democratic society where each human being has the right to enjoy all rights and freedoms, emphasizing that “such denial of the LGBTQI natural rights to engage in intimate relationships amongst themselves without discrimination or interference from anyone, would result in forcing them to do what is contrary to their nature to be consistent with the practices of the majority”.  This consequently means denying them the enjoyment of their rights that are inherent to their persons, which constitutes a violation to basic human rights that are enshrined within the Lebanese constitution and the international Human rights instruments. Whereas a number of LGBTQI in Lebanon expressed their welcome of that decision, the founder of “Helem” association, George Azzi, emphasized that the best measure is to annul article 534, but he regarded what happened as an achievement to be added to the credit of NGOs that are concerned with LGBTQI rights.  Azzi further noted that this equitable judgment for LGBTQI is not the first. In the same vein, Azzi emphasized that the Lebanese society is ready to annul article 534, based on a study conducted by the Arab Institute for Freedoms and Equality during the past year.  Findings of the study indicate that 90% of the surveyed persons are against violence against LGBTQI, but he pointed out that the battle is not with the society but with the security forces, whose members frequently resort to the use of force when dealing with LGBTQI.  Azzi concluded by clarifying that the demand for LGBTQI right does not imply demand for marriage or adopting children, but to arrive at implementing rights and at equality. (Al-Diyar, L’Orient le Jour, January 30, 2017)

 

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