Emergency includes LGBTQ laws

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Confusion has arisen over why the recently declared Emergency Regulations have included Sections 365 and 365A of the Penal Code that criminalise the LGBTQ+ community.

Human Rights Activist, Attorney-at-law, Aritha Wickramasinghe said the Emergency Regulations are threatening to imprison LGBT people for life.

Wickaramasinghe said on top of various other infringements of fundamental rights, the Regulations have created a national security crisis over what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes. 

He added that Sections 365 and 365A of the Penal Code, which criminalise the homosexual community in the country, is often used to arrest, detain, and persecute LGBT people. Gross indecency laws have also been used to arrest heterosexual couples for holding hands and kissing in parks.

Wickramesinghe noted that the Regulations empower the Police and Military to break into people’s homes and arrest them on suspicion of committing the offence.  He added that a Fundamental Rights Petition has already been filed in this regard and several others will be filed.

Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during a meeting with stakeholders of ‘Aragalaya’ said he is also aware of the matter.

The President said he has already instructed the Attorney General to take action to remove that particular provision from the Emergency Regulations.