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The European Union Delegation and the Heads of Mission of EU member states accredited to Myanmar issue the following statement:
Despite remarkable progress over the last years, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) continue to suffer violence, discrimination and violations of their fundamental rights all over the world. In particular, LGBTI persons are too often marginalized in their communities, confronted to 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 EU and its Member States believe that 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, the EU and its Member States consider that all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons in any part of the world must be condemned.
The EU Delegation and the Embassies of its Member States in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar welcome the deep changes which have been taking place in Myanmar for the last few years for LGBTI persons. Since the democratically elected government took office in 2016, organizations from the civil society fighting for LGBTI rights have started to gain a voice and to participate in the development of public policies.
The EU and its Member States do 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. We encourage the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to consider (1) abolishing this article, which belongs to the past and does not reflect the deep changes in the society of Myanmar over the last years, and (2) providing legal protection against homophobic and transphobic violence, prohibiting discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and facilitating access to justice and grievance mechanisms for victims.
We understand that such issues remain sensitive for many. It is however essential to address them and maintain dialogue on them, as they touch upon fundamental rights and dignity. Therefore, 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 will hold, on 16 May 2018 on behalf of the European Union and its Member States, a screening at the Institut français de Birmanie of the movie “Beats Per Minute” (BPM), which depicts the fight against inertia, censorship and discriminations faced by LGBTI persons in the first half of the 1990’s in France. The screening will be followed by a debate. On 17 May, the Embassy of France will support the public event organized by Colors Rainbow, Kings N Queens and &PROUD at the Myanmar Plaza on the theme of family.