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The Heads of Missions of the European Union Delegation and EU Member States and Representation Offices resident in Myanmar issue the following statement:
Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in terms of equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI). However, LGBTI persons across the world continue to suffer violence, discrimination and violations of their fundamental rights. They are too often marginalized in their communities, confronted by family pressure and discriminated against at work and in their access to health services. In more than 70 countries, same-sex relationships are still considered to be crimes or offences, punishable by prison sentences, or even the death penalty.
The fundamental principles of equality in terms of rights and dignity, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, must be respected for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Therefore, all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons in any part of the world must be condemned.
It is encouraging to observe that the situation of LGBTI persons in Myanmar over the past years has improved and civil society organisations promoting LGBTI rights have started to gain a voice and to participate in the development of public policies.
The EU Delegation and the EU Member States resident in Myanmar appreciate that Article 377 of the Penal Code, which provides for up to 10 years imprisonment for same-sex relationship, appears little or not enforced in the country. We encourage the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to consider abolishing this article, which does not reflect the deep changes in the society over the last years, providing legal protection against homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and facilitating access to justice and grievance mechanisms for victims.
A continuous dialogue on this issue that remains sensitive to many is critical for securing fundamental rights and dignity for all.
As a contribution to this dialogue, on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the Embassy of France in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has held, on 15 May 2019, a screening at the Institut français de Birmanie of the documentary “May We Help You”, which depicts some of the challenges faced by the LGBTI persons. The screening was followed by a panel discussion on legal protection.
On 17 May 2019, IDAHOT Day, a public event on the theme of justice and protection for all will be organized by Colors Rainbow, Kings N Queens and &PROUD at Junction City. On this occasion, the EU Delegation and the Embassies and Representation Offices of the EU Member States resident in Myanmar wish to salute the courage of civil society organisations and reaffirm their unwavering support for normalizing LGBTI rights in Myanmar.