After we published the letter, supported by Egyptian LGBTQ+ folk, women’s rights activists, and African climate activists, the response was overwhelming. Just two boys in love, through trying their best to be allies and do good, now had the world watching. However, this contrasted with the delayed reply from the UN.
When asked what protections are in place in the case of an arrest or other civil actions against marginalized groups due to protected characteristics, the UN responded that “legal arrangements have been put in place required for the organization of a UN Conference away from established headquarters. As with all such conferences, all conference participants are required to comply with the laws of the host country, in this case, Egypt. Accordingly, there are no specific protections for any particular individuals. Should a conference participant be arrested or detained outside the conference premises, the government of Egypt is obligated to keep UNDSS [the United Nations Department for Safety and Security] fully informed.”
There was no empathy, morality, or grace in the response. Just a word scramble of disappointment with no accountability. With our background of protesting, our circles of youth activists also started to understand just how deep the rabbit hole of tyranny goes. It is significantly more dangerous to demonstrate or protest in Egypt, consequently erasing all forms of civil disobedience in and around Cop. We will not sit idly by as our work, and the work of others, in these spaces is forcibly stopped simply due to who we love.
Over the course of history, the important role that protest has to play when it comes to creating societal change cannot be overstated. That’s another reason why this Cop has already failed. Screaming on the main stage and pulling back the curtain on the true realities of Egypt’s regime is not an option. Egypt has a history of arresting those who speak out.