HIV programs can only be truly effective if sexual minorities are decriminalised, Global Commission told

Published: March 3, 2011

Over 200 participants from 22 Asia-Pacific countries gathered in Bangkok for a historic dialogue hosted by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. As of now, 90 percent of countries in the Asia-Pacific region still have laws and practices that obstruct the rights of people living with HIV and those at higher risk of HIV exposure.

Members of the Asia-Pacific LGBT community, public health workers and civil society came face-to-face with lawmakers, judiciary and police during a rare opportunity to air their grievances and share stories in hopes that a frank discussion on the core issues around HIV might change hearts and ultimately change laws.

The first of six regional dialogues for the Global Commission on HIV and the Law was held in Bangkok on February 16 and 17. The event comes almost midway through the 18-month lifespan of an independent commission, convened with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and tasked to analyse the critical legal and human rights challenges of the HIV epidemic and recommend remedial policies.

Work started for the Commission in June 2010 and its 14 Commissioners – which include former presidents and members of international judiciary in its line-up – are working towards the goal of delivering key findings and recommendations by December 2011.

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