Posts Tagged 'MSM'

Syariah Law in the Penal Code of Brunei: Stoning is Inhuman, Uncompassionate, and a Gross Violation of Human Rights

Press Statement by the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus(ASC)

The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) condemns the regressive and inhuman revision of the penal code of Brunei Darussalam that introduces stoning to death as a specific method of execution for same sexual activities. The ASC is somewhat comforted by the postponement of the implementation of the new code. However, the ASC maintains its position on the introduction of the law, albeit the delay.

Same sex activities between men are already criminalized under the Penal Code, and if found guilty, one can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and will also be liable to fine. The revision of the Penal Code is uncompassionate, and will maintain the disgracefully low standards of human rights in the ASEAN.

The ASC is further saddened by the use of religion to justify the regulation of our bodily autonomy and integrity, violence and killing of other human beings. This is a blatant and gross violation of human rights, and far from the teaching of any religion, including Islam, that promotes compassion and equality.

We are extremely concerned of the psycho-social impact that this law will create on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Brunei, increase of violence towards LGBTI persons, and the restriction of other rights, such as freedom of expression, assembly and association for both local and regional groups. Effectively, this derails the ASC’s advocacy to promote and protect the fundamental human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) in the ASEAN to live free without fear and as equals.

The ASC calls Brunei to remove the revision and fulfill its obligation as a state to promote and protect human rights of all people. Laws and policies must protect people and not further violate the oppressed. ASEAN has bloc needs to place equal emphasis and commitment on development, security and human rights. If ASEAN aims to be an ASEAN community by 2015, it needs to ensure that the people are the priority.

Over the last few years, we are thankful to have witnessed some progress in the promotion and protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the some member states of ASEAN; some of which are state initiated. We call on these countries to show leadership in the area of human rights and take a progressive stand as human lives are at stake.

The ASC recalls its recommendations to:

  1. Immediately repeal laws that directly and indirectly criminalize SOGI, recognizes LGBTIQ rights as human rights, and harmonizes national laws, policies, and practices with the United Nations Human Rights Treaties and the Yogyakarta Principles.
  2. Establish national level mechanisms and review existing regional human rights instruments (e.g. AICHR, ACWC) to include the promotion and protection of the equal rights of all people regardless of SOGI with the active engagement of the LGBTIQ community.
  3. Depathologize SOGI and promote psychological well being of people of Diverse SOGIE in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and ensure equal access to health and social services.

 

What We Need From the Next Head of PEPFAR

President’s Emergency Plan on AIDS ReliefDr. Eric Goosby stepped down from his role as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator this month. As the White House and the State Department consider Dr. Goosby’s replacement, the Council believes there are some qualities that are essential in his successor.

The Council and its member organizations strongly support the President’s Emergency Plan on AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – not only for health policy reasons, but for the broader reflection of fundamental U.S. values that PEPFAR offers. In that respect, we believe it crucial that PEPFAR programs be fully inclusive of most-at-risk populations, including men who have sex with men (MSM). We are grateful that  the Obama Administration has embraced that principle by expanding PEPFAR programming to include MSM – a legacy that, in turn, is elevating the importance of enabling legal environments for MSM prevention and treatment programs.

The nominee for Dr. Goosby’s replacement obviously must reflect experience in, and knowledge of, HIV/AIDS policy. Given the cross-agency nature of our tools to fight HIV/AIDS, however, we believe it critically important that he or she also demonstrate proven abilities to lead a complex and multi-tiered interagency health policy team.

Moreover, the new Coordinator will carry important leadership responsibilities in ensuring the consistency and integrity of PEPFAR programs. This must include clear commitment to meeting the needs of most-at-risk populations, including LGBT individuals, in each country served by PEPFAR. It equally must include persistence in seeking host country understanding of, and shared commitment to, this goal.

The Council remains concerned at indications that some PEPFAR implementers may have inappropriately blurred the distinction between their personal views on homosexuality and their responsibility, as an implementing organization of U.S. policy, not to undercut broad U.S. government policy goals that support both sound HIV/AIDS prevention and LGBT rights. We wish to see a Coordinator who will prioritize the integrity and effectiveness of our programs in this respect, even while respecting First Amendment rights. We, in turn, will join in holding the new Coordinator publicly accountable for effective oversight in investigating and responding to any alleged abuse.

Finally, the person selected as Coordinator has an essential role in communicating to foreign leaders, and indeed to American and foreign publics, the critical importance of PEPFAR’s life-saving programs, and the need for those programs to embrace all populations.

The new Global AIDS Coordinator can anchor a strong legacy not only of humanitarian attention to a critical health challenge, but also to insistence that our global health policies be fully inclusive, in reflection of American values. The Council for Global Equality is hopeful that there will be a speedy announcement of Dr. Goosby’s replacement, and that that announcement will reflect these inclusive values that are critical to the direction in which our PEPFAR programs must go.

Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM

amFAR John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSDownload Reports in PDF format below

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602

NEW YORK, January 18, 2012—Funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS consistently fails to reach programs designed to control the disease among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new analysis released Wednesday by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) at Johns Hopkins University. The report finds that resources dedicated to addressing the epidemic among MSM are grossly insufficient, and that funding intended for this population is often diverted away from MSM-related services.

Despite Obama Administration leadership in setting bold new targets to tackle global AIDS and highlight the human rights of MSM and other sexual minorities, U.S. government aid intended to prevent and treat HIV infection among MSM continues to encounter obstacles throughout the world.

The new report, “Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM,” provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of HIV-related funding and programming for this population. Focusing on eight countries, the report finds that national governments have failed to adequately tackle the epidemic among MSM. The findings are especially dire in countries that criminalize MSM. In those settings, governments spend fewer resources on HIV-related health services for MSM, do less to track and understand the epidemic, and are more likely to repurpose donor funds intended to fight the epidemic among MSM. Continue reading ‘Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM’

U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) releases MSM technical guidance

PEPFAR, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief May 19, Washington – Today the office of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) released a technical guidance note to assist PEPFAR administrators in developing health interventions that respond to the unique needs of men who have sex with men (MSM).  The guide finds that MSM are on average 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population in low and middle-income countries, and that dedicated MSM programming is essential to reach this severely at-risk population. Download the guidance here.

The Council is pleased that the guidance reviews best practices in identifying and serving MSM communities.  The guidance also calls for PEPFAR support to develop legal environments that allow MSM to access HIV prevention, care and treatment in an affirming and nondiscriminatory manner that respects their human rights.  To accomplish this, the guidance explains that PEPFAR resources may be used “to establish laws, regulations and policies that support HIV prevention efforts for MSM.”  In simple terms, the guidance recognizes that laws criminalizing homosexual relations and relationships undermine our country’s large international investments, and that PEPFAR resources should also be used to support legal reform. It calls on PEPFAR implementers to offer nondiscriminatory programs and for government leaders to make legislative changes, recognizing that “country leadership . . . is needed to develop and implement, at all levels, any necessary supportive legislation, policies, and regulations.” Continue reading ‘U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) releases MSM technical guidance’

The Council supports the global community on MSM field guidance

Amb. Eric Goosby

On February 1, 2011, the global community urged the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Goosby, to issue a PEPFAR Field Guidance on Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).  The Council for Global Equality is one of the many signatories urging the release, and the broad international response is indicative of the wide support that exists for this effort.

As noted in the letter, by releasing the MSM guidance the United States will demonstrate “that the U.S. government prioritizes an evidence-based response that aligns with the global HIV epidemic, one that seeks to stem the tide of new infections among most-at-risk populations.”

Read the full letter here.


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