Rights group decries 'forced anal exams' used in 8 countries

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Human Rights Watch is urging an end to "forced anal examinations" with a report documenting them in eight countries, mostly in Africa, saying the practice is based on flawed ideas about supposedly proving homosexual conduct.

The advocacy group calls the examinations "a form of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment" that amounts to sexual assault, violates international conventions and could rise to the level of torture.

The report unveiled Tuesday draws on interviews with 32 men and transgender women subjected to the exams in eight countries that ban same-sex conduct: Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Zambia.

The report says the exams are rooted in "discredited 19th century theories" that homosexuals can be identified by characteristics of the anus.

A Kenyan court has upheld the use of anal examinations.