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Hossam el-Hamalawy

Egypt and beyond: Homophobic Unions? - 0 views

  • This strange piece of news was published in Al-Shourouq yesterday: The Egyptian Trade Union Federation refused a proposal by the ILO at its 98th session in Geneva to "give the right to homosexuals to enter the organizations" as well as the "migration of workers with HIV/AIDS between member states" which could "threaten the health" of other workers. These practices is against Islam, a representative of the state-controlled federation explained. The article also states that representatives of Arab and Muslim states suspended their participation in the conference because they regarded the calls of ILO to protect human rights "regardless of sexual orientation" as a "call to spread homosexuality in the world and give it official recognition."
  • Besides being a completely ignorant standpoint to start with, it is not clear exactly what proposals the article referes to. One of the items on the agenda of the conference was "to adopt an international labour standard on HIV/AIDS in order to increase the attention devoted to the subject at the national and international level, to promote united action among the key actors on HIV/AIDS and to increase the impact of the ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work, adopted in 2001." And just before the conference, the ILO released a report on discrimination and stigmatization of workers living with HIV and Aids, calling for the end of such practices.
  • It seems like the state-controlled unions are desperate to find any way to score cheap points - even by playing on and reinforcing prejudice, ignorance and homophobia - since they are unable and/or unwilling to take the fight for workers rights, even as they are challenged by growing calls for free unions in Egypt. Pathetic.
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