Amnesty slams Gulf countries’ proposed ‘medical tests’ to ‘detect’ and ban gay and trans people

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Amnesty International has heavily criticised the Gulf Cooperation Council for proposals for “medical tests” to attempt to block gay and trans people from entering, and working, in its member countries.

The Health Ministry of Kuwait this week proposed that genetic tests for immigrant workers in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, be tightened to prevent transgender migrants from entering the job market there.

This news follows an announcement earlier this week that Doctors in Kuwait and other GCC countries may subject men entering the county to screening tests in order to attempt to “detect”, and ban gay people from entering.

Amnesty on Friday said the proposals should be rejected because they are “outrageous”.

“This proposal will only further stigmatise people who already suffer extremely high levels of discrimination and abuse on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,? said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.

“Instead of continuing to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender and intersex individuals, authorities in Kuwait should work to ensure that people are not harassed and abused because of who they are and repeal laws that criminalise sexual acts between consenting adults.”

Amnesty said the proposals would ban anyone found to be transgender or homosexual from entering the country. The proposal will be debated by the expatriate labour committee of the GCC in Oman on 11 November.

“It is an affront to the fundamental human right to privacy and underscores the continuing persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Luther continued.

It is illegal to be gay in all of the GCC member countries. These include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Article 193 of the Penal Code in Kuwait punishes homosexuality between men, over the age of 21, with up to seven years imprisonment. If the conduct involves persons under the age of 21, then imprisonment can be for a maximum of ten years.