Zambia: Intolerance Threatens Health, Rights

Published: May 21, 2010

Zambia: Intolerance Threatens Health, Rights

(New York) – Recent homophobic statements by religious leaders and government authorities risk undermining Zambia’s fight against HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Zambian leaders on May 17, 2010.

Human Rights Watch called on government authorities to condemn statements that could discourage men who have sex with men from seeking health care and erode their fundamental human rights, and to reaffirm the importance of HIV testing and treatment for these men. The letter also called on the Zambian Parliament to amend the Penal Code to decriminalize consensual sexual conduct among adults.

"Zambia has a strong track record on addressing HIV/AIDS," said Joseph Amon, Health and Human Rights director at Human Rights Watch. "However, promoting intolerance and creating a climate of fear will only sabotage efforts to ensure access to HIV prevention and treatment by driving men underground."

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