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By reforming its own system, Egypt can influence positive changes in other countries in the region and lead the way for clear and accessible legal gender recognition mechanisms.

August 26 should have been a day of celebration for Ezz Eldin, a 26-year-old transgender man, but it ended in tragedy. He bled to death after he was prematurely discharged following a gender-affirmation surgery in an underground clinic…
The transgender pride flag.
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Digital Targeting of LGBT People by Middle East/North Africa Governments

Sarah Hegazy, an Egyptian queer feminist, raised a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo. Rania Amdouni, a Tunisian queer activist, protested deteriorating economic conditions and police brutality in Tunis. Mohamad al-Bokari, a Yemeni blogger in Saudi…
Sarah Hegazy, Egyptian LGBTQ activist, photographed by a friend who wished to remain anonymous, at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo in 2017 © 2020 anonymous.
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When I met a former independent Lebanese parliament member, she asked me, “How can we mobilize the LGBT vote in Lebanon?” She wanted to understand why the Lebanese “LGBT community” had not voted as a block in the 2018 parliamentary elections to oppose…
LGBT activists in Beirut, Lebanon shout slogans and hold up a rainbow flag as they march to demand equal rights in a country gripped by economic and financial crisis, June 27, 2020.
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On Sunday, June 14, Sarah Hegazy, a 30-year-old Egyptian queer feminist whose resistance centered around a deconstruction of class power and struggle, took her own life in exile in Canada. Three years ago, Sarah attended a concert…
Young people wave a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert featuring the Lebanese Band Mashrou’ Leila. Activist Ahmed Alaa confirmed that he raised a rainbow flag at the concert in a Buzzfeed video including this image prior to his arrest.
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As I sat behind the safety glass of a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay in mid-January, for the pre-trial hearings of the five men charged as conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, my mind kept wandering to a different prison, halfway…
In this photo reviewed by US military officials, flags fly in front of the tents of Camp Justice, April 18, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
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On January 27, President Emmanuel Macron began his first official visit to Egypt. Relations between the two countries and presidents have never been warmer. Macron has justified France’s support for Egypt, despite the well documented…
French President Emmanuel Macron meets with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the presidential palace in Cairo on January 28, 2019. © 2019 Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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United States Vice President Mike Pence, who canceled his visit to the Middle East in December amid a firestorm over US President Donald Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem, is due to visit Egypt on January 20, as part of a trip that…
Relatives of victims react next to coffins arriving to the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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You have to look long and hard these days to find good news on human rights in Egypt but we might take some encouragement from the decision on 14 April by the interim president, Adly Mansour, to send draft “counterterrorism” legislation back to the…
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Obama says the U.S. won't spy on foreign leaders — but what about spying for them?

President Barack Obama appeared to have good news on Jan. 17 for foreign citizens appalled by months of revelations of U.S. surveillance overseas. The United States, he assured them in his much-awaited speech on new controls on snooping by the…
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Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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In Egypt, the Military is not a Profession; it's a Ruling Caste. If that Doesn't Change, Ousting Hosni Mubarak Will Mean Little.

Word came from the street: A mob had gathered in front of the ground-floor door, blocking the exit from the offices of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a pioneering Egyptian human rights organization. Former director Ahmed Seif knew what was coming: a raid…
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As one would expect from so eloquent a leader, Barack Obama has brought a marked improvement in presidential rhetoric on human rights compared with his predecessor. In a series of speeches around the world, carefully tailored for each audience, the…