White House Advisor urges UN to move COP27 location from Egypt over LGBTQ+ treatment

White House Advisor urges UN to move COP27 location from Egypt over LGBTQ+ treatment
2 min read
16 July, 2022
A White House advisor and his partner have urged the UN to move the COP27 climate summit from Egypt to another African country due to Cairo's treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
Jerome Foster, a 20-year-old advisor to the White House, is urging the UN to move the upcoming climate change location [Getty]

A White House advisor and his partner have urged the United Nations to move the upcoming climate change summit from Egypt due to the country’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people, according to reports.

Jerome Foster – a 20-year-old advisor to the White House – and their partner Elijah Mckenzie-Jackson fear they and other activists may be targeted in the north African country if they attend the COP27, the Guardian reported.

Egypt is set to host the UN climate summit in November in Sharm el-Sheikh as the event is due to bring world leaders together in a bid to reach new commitments to limit climate change.

“You have let down LGBTQ+ people… activists and allies… your decision to host COP27 in Egypt places out life in danger in the process of advocating for the life of our planet,” a letter by the couple to the UN, publicised by the Guardian, read.

“Our hope now is that the COP27 President-Designate… and yourself… collaboratively make the decision to move the location of COP27 to another African country that would comfortably accommodate LGBTQ+ people, women and civil protest,” it added.

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Same-sex relationships aren’t explicitly banned in Egypt, however gay people are frequently arrested and charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

Authorities in the country also arbitrarily arrest people from the LGBT community and detain them in inhumane, torturous conditions, according to Human Rights Watch.

Over 30 groups, including Amnesty International, have also urged Egypt to end freedom crackdowns on activists ahead of summit, citing concerns that restrictive Egyptian laws could curtail the right to freedom of assembly and expression for many.

This is aside from the fact the choice of Egypt as the event host has drawn sharp criticism from activists due to the country’s human rights record, in which rights groups say around 60,000 political prisoners are held.

Human Rights Watch believe Cairo would use the summit to “whitewash” this record.