See the must watch Video – Criminalization of Homosexuality Kills – The link is made between increase in HIV/ AIDS in countries that criminalize homosexuality – Homophobia causes higher HIV/AIDS rates.
By Melanie Nathan, March 14, 2o13.
Yesterday Conservative Peer Lord Black of Brentwood, led a debate on Criminalization of Homosexuality and how it has caused an increase in HIV/AIDS rates. He described the tragedy of criminalization directly attributable to colonialization as causing past and future deaths.
The Peers go into great detail, about the negative impact of the old Draconian laws of criminalization that were never repealed when countries in the Commonwealth received their independence.
This could make the difference between life and death, as in some countries the situation is getting worse, the Peers note.
Mention is made of the Anti-homosexuality Bill in Uganda. Baroness Gould of Potternewton mentioned that the criminalization laws have become more harsh over the years. The Darconian laws are so harsh that they drive LGBTI people underground. HIV prevention agencies therefore cannot give care or appropriate advice, causing the virus to be passed on. It is mentioned that it does not help to criminalize those who provide help. “Gay people have a double whammy” They are at great risk for HIV and they cannot get help.
The shutting down of LGBT information workshops on HIV by Ugandan and Cameroon authorities is mentioned as being a huge problem, taking away much needed education.
Homosexual acts are illegal in 41 of the 54 Commonwealth nations, and penalties include the death sentence in parts of Nigeria and Pakistan, and life imprisonment in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh and Guyana.
BBC reports that:
“Lord Black condemned laws discriminating against homosexuals as a “monument of man’s humanity to man” and argued that repealing those laws could “make the difference between life and death for many who are sick now and who are yet to be born”.
He was followed by Labour’s Baroness Gould of Potternewton, president of the Family Planning Association, who said gay men and women in many Commonwealth countries were often “unable to seek advice or support because they then have to admit to an illegal act”.
The Bishop of Newcastle said he wanted to be “clear” that “if criminalisation leads to many living in fear, that is wrong”.
For Labour, shadow international development spokesperson Lord Collins of Highbury hailed the UK as a “beacon” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights but cautioned that “domestic progress is not enough”.
Lord Collins criticised the “vague terms” of anti-discrimination passages in the Commonwealth charter.
Several peers raised concerns about the wording of the Commonwealth charter’s statement that “we are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds”, which they criticised for not specifically citing sexuality.
International development spokesperson Baroness Northover told peers: “The government cannot neglect this group of people who are most marginalised.”
She recognized the link between anti-homosexual discrimination and the spread of HIV/Aids, saying: “Public health is assisted in promoting the rights of homosexuals but it is also right in itself.”
The call of the Peers is for the Uk to call for the promotion of legal reform against decriminalization. The stigma against homosexuality must be removed to create health and save lives.