News

Amnesty urges Govt. to protect LGBTI community through legal reforms

Amnesty International has urged the Government of Sri Lanka to protect the rights of the LGBTI community through necessary reforms to the law.

“In 2017 at Sri Lanka’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN, the Sri Lankan government confirmed that it was committed to ensuring that no laws would be used to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Unfortunately, however, laws such as the Penal Code and the Vagrants Ordinance are still being used to target and harass people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” Amnesty International said in its new comic book that documents discrimination faced by LGBTI people.

Amnesty International said in order to make sure the Government follows its Constitution and lives up to its international human rights commitments it must immediately:

• Remove sections 365, 365A and 399 from the Penal Code so that they cannot be used to target people because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

• Remove the Vagrants Ordinance from the laws of Sri Lanka, so that it cannot be used to discriminate against people because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

• Make sure no other laws can be used to discriminate against people because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

• Make sure that LGBTI people are given the full protection of the law, and are not harassed, extorted or abused by police because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

• Take steps to make sure people are not discriminated against, harassed or subjected to violence in public and private places because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. If this happens, the government must make sure there is a mechanism through which complaints can be made and heard safely. And make sure all cases are properly investigated and the perpetrators are held accountable.

Amnesty has also urged the people of Sri Lanka to cultivate an environment that is inclusive of all people, and make sure people are not discriminated against, harassed or abused because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Amnesty has also urged  the people of Sri Lanka to be allies to LGBTI people.

The stories in the comic book only show a small sample of the wide scale of threats, abuses and violations that people face in Sri Lanka because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

LGBTI is the abbreviation for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex’ community.