For Immediate Release
Three LGBT Ugandan Activists Arrested at PEPFAR Meeting in Kampala
Cambridge, Mass - 06/08/2008
"The correct understanding of fundamental human rights principles, as well as existing human rights norms, leads ineluctably to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights." --Paul Hunt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health
Physicians for Human Rights is gravely concerned about the arrest on Wednesday, June 4 of 3 LGBT Ugandan activists at a PEPFAR (President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief) meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
The activists were peacefully protesting a statement by the Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission that no government funds would be directed at halting the spread of AIDS in the community of men who have sex with men. The activists were officially cited for "trespassing," though other activists lacking credentials entered the meeting without incident.
The activists also distributed copies of a document outlining programs that could serve this key population and the estimated cost of these programs. "Everyone deserves the right to health, including marginalized groups subject to discrimination," said Frank Donaghue, director of Physicians for Human Rights."Advocates need to be encouraged and supported, not arrested. They are HIV experts in their own communities and they are trying to save lives."
The Ugandan population of men who have sex with men, a highly stigmatized and socially excluded group, is at particular risk of contracting HIV. This group deserves the highest attainable standard of health and the same protections and programs afforded other Ugandans. The activists, as part of Uganda's civil society, play a key role in advocating for life-saving prevention and treatment programs for this population. Physicians for Human Rights advocates for science-based HIV prevention, treatment and care for everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, national background, or sexual preference.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.