Responding to a decision by Lebanon’s Telecommunications Ministry to block access to the app, Grindr, which is mainly used by gay and trans men, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:
“The decision to ban Grindr in Lebanon is a deeply regressive step and a blow for the human rights of the local LGBTI community. As well as being a flagrant assault on the right to freedom of expression, this move will serve to entrench and legitimize homophobic views within the country.
“No one should face discrimination or punishment for their sexual orientation. Instead of blocking apps used by the gay community, the Lebanese authorities should immediately revoke this ban and focus their efforts on ending their crackdown against LGBTI people.”
Amnesty International obtained confirmation from an official source at the Lebanese Telecommunications Ministry that it had indeed issued the decision. In January 2019, access to the Grindr app was partially blocked on some Lebanese mobile data networks, apparently on the orders of the ministry.
LGBTI people in Lebanon continue to be denied the freedom to exercise their rights. Lebanon’s penal code, which criminalizes “sexual intercourse which contradicts the laws of nature”, has been used to prosecute LGBTI people.
Just over a year ago, Internal Security forces also banned a series of activities organized by LGBTI activists to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, citing security concerns.