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Call for doctors to end anal exams as ‘homosexuality tests’

Call for doctors to end anal exams as ‘homosexuality tests’

Medical associations are being called on to end forced anal examinations on people accused of homosexual conduct.

The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the use of forced anal examinations.

Forced anal examinations are based on long-discredited 19th century science. They involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus. It is an attempt to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse.

These exams are relied upon as ‘evidence; in prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct in some countries.

The WMA and HRW said the exams have no scientific basis, violate medical ethics, and constitute cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture.

‘The jury is no longer out. There is no excuse for governments to continue conducting forced anal exams on people accused of homosexuality,’ said Neela Ghoshal, HRW senior researcher LGBT rights at HRW.

‘The World Medical Association has added its voice to an overwhelming consensus that forced anal exams are unethical, unscientific, and unjustifiable on any grounds.’

What can the WMA do?

The WMA called on national medical associations to prohibit their members from participating in them.

It also wants the associations to educate doctors and health workers about ‘the unscientific and futile nature of forced anal exams’. Doctors must learn ‘the fact that they are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’.

The WMA also called on the World Health Organization to make an official statement opposing forced anal exams.

Ethical standards

Several countries continue to use forced anal examinations including Tanzania, and most recently Egypt.

In early October, about 57 people were arrested in Egypt after flying rainbow flags at a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila.

Amnesty International reported at least five of those arrested were subjected to anal probes.
‘Doctors play a critical role in upholding ethical standards and are often part of the moral compass of society,’ Ghoshal said.

‘In Egypt, in Tanzania, and in all countries in which people are being subjected to forced anal examinations, doctors should take the lead in ending these horrific abuses.’