Statement Statement at the 31st PCB under agenda item 1.3 Report of the Executive Director
This statement is made by COC Netherlands, The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF), and the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) – also on behalf of their partners in the Dutch “Bridging the Gap” Programme, including in-country partners in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region.
Let me first thank the Executive Director for his report to the PCB, noting his comments on marginalized and criminalized communities and the official field visit of the PCB to the EECA region. This region sees a continuously growing number of new infections, especially among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people. At the same time, we see a growing trend of proposed legislation in member states in this region banning so-called “propaganda of homosexuality”, in one form or another, and moves to de facto re-criminalize homosexuality and LGBT communities, similar to recent legislative proposals in sub-Saharan Africa.
Not only is such legislation blatantly homophobic, it could have a severe negative impact on the HIV response among gay men and other MSM in these countries. It exacerbates pre-existing discrimination in health care, and could deter lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from seeking health services. Some of the proposed laws lay responsibility for HIV transmission solely at the feet of gay men and other MSM, which simply fuels the stigma and discrimination that member states have endeavored to eradicate.
While we are moving towards Zero New Infections across the globe, we must remain alert to the fact that the health needs of key-affected populations, including LGBT, are still regularly overlooked, and their human rights violated. Last weekend, a peaceful gathering to mark Human Rights Day in one of the capital cities in the EECA region led to violence against participants and their unnecessary detainment, arrest, and prosecution in courts of law. We cannot move towards Zero New Discrimination and AIDS free generations when young people do not have access to information, when people are hindered to seek prevention, treatment and care, and when they cannot enjoy basic human rights – particularly on Human Rights Day.
(Mr Chair…) Upon entering this building, we are reminded of the universal human right to the highest attainable standard of health, which, like many universal human rights, we have all committed ourselves to uphold. Let us make sure, now and in the post-2015 MDG world, that universal really means for everyone.
With reference to the conclusions and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the 26th PCB and the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, concerned about the severe negative impact that proposed legislation in member states could have on the HIV response among LGBT people;
we ask UNAIDS to use its convening authority to urge member states:
(1) to uphold their commitments to a dedicated HIV response as made in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS;
(2) to uphold human rights of LGBT people which is a prerequisite for effective prevention and health work by denouncing any of such law initiatives;
– and –
ask the Executive Director to speak out strongly against such legislation.
 UNAIDS PCB, 26th session, 22-24 June 2010: Decisions, Recommendations and Conclusions
 UN Human Rights Council, 19th session, 17 November 2011, “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.” – Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.