Tunisia Medical Council Bans Forced Anal Examination


Recently, Tunisia medical council banned homosexual examination that could aid homosexual act in the country. The move is called a ‘courageous step’ by Human Rights Watch. However it has been confirmed that same sex relationships are illegal in Tunisia.

Forced anal examinations are a form of cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture. They violate the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Forced anal exams are invasive, intrusive, and profoundly humiliating.

Same sex relationships are banned in the north African country, where doctors perform anal “tests”. But the National Council of the Medical Order has now decreed that doctors must tell people they have a right to refuse the exams. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the announcement, made earlier this month, was an “important” and “courageous” step forward.

“Tunisian doctors have taken a courageous step in opposing the use of these torturous exams. To ensure that forced anal testing in Tunisia ends once and for all, police should stop ordering the exams, and courts should refuse to admit the results into evidence.”said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at HRW.

“Although the decision of the Tunisian medical council to oppose coercive anal tests is a welcome move, it does not go far enough. Anal tests for homosexuality, regardless of whether they forced or with consent, are unreliable and unethical. They are rightly condemned by medical authorities worldwide.”said Peter Tatchell, LGBT rights campaigner.

In Tunisia the tests have been going on for at least nine years and most probably longer which has violated the right of affected people.

“Damj [Tunisian LGBT rights group] said they were already hearing of cases when they first started documenting human rights abuses in 2008, and they didn’t know how far back the practice dated, because they were working more or less underground at the time, not much was publicised about these abuses.”” Ms Ghoshal said.

However, a series of high profile cases in Tunisia in recent years has brought more attention to the issue. Two men were arrested and forced on anal examination and still spent eight months in prison in March. Earlier HRW reports also documented a number of other cases of men being subject to the abuse in 2015.

“I took my pants off and had to get on the table he entered one finger inside my anus, with cream on it. He put his finger in and was looking. While putting his finger in, he said, ‘Are you ok now’, I said, ‘No I’m not okay.’ It was painful.” A victim explained.

“Then he put in a tube. It was to see if there was sperm. He pushed the tube far inside. It was about the length of a finger. It felt painful. I felt like I was an animal, because I felt like I didn’t have any respect. I felt like they were violating me.” he further narrated.

HRW and other rights groups have been lobbying the medical council since 2015 but it was not immediately clear what prompted the announcement. However, HRW welcomed the development and hoped it would inspire change in other places.

“It is time for the world to say a resounding no to the use of forced anal exams everywhere,” Ms Ghoshal said.

“It is encouraging to see Tunisia’s doctors leading the way. Medical councils around the world, as well as law enforcement agencies and other government bodies, should take their cue from this example.” she further stated.

Finally, the forced anal examination has been banned from Tunisia. However, Homosexuality has also been advised to be stopped due to its ethical and medical effect. It has been confirmed that living against homosexuality will enable people to live a normal and acceptable life style.

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