Activists are hailing a Botswana court ruling that they say sets a precedent to improve access to HIV treatment across southern Africa.
On Wednesday, the Botswana Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the government is required to provide foreign prisoners treatment at government expense. The government had earlier refused to treat them. The court also ordered all foreign inmates to receive the same HIV testing as do prisoners who are citizens.
"The Court of Appeal has affirmed Botswana's legal duty of care over persons in detention, no matter what their origin," said Annabel Raw, a health rights lawyer at the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Litigation Center, which supported the case. "The decision's enforcement will mean access to life-saving treatment for people who are particularly vulnerable to HIV."
It took less than a minute for a panel of judges in Senegal to sentence seven men to six months in prison for homosexuality last week, but campaigners say the harm to the African nation's anti-HIV efforts could last much longer.
Senegal, a Muslim country regarded as a pillar of democracy in turbulent West Africa, is one of about 30 African states with anti-homosexuality laws. Yet the country of 14 million people also prides itself on its vigorous, and successful, anti-HIV efforts.
Campaigners warned that Friday's verdict, based on a police discovery of condoms and lubricant in the house where the men were arrested, was a hammer blow to groups promoting safe sex.
Gay men's preventative efforts could now transform them into targets for authorities, campaigners said.
Rajat Khoslaemail, Lale Say, Marleen Temmerman
The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9995, p725–726, 22 August 2015
Sexuality and sexual health are two closely related concepts that contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals, couples, and families. Our understanding of the concept of sexual health has gone through many iterations, the first one being in 1975, in which a WHO report series defined sexual health as "the integration of the somatic, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being, in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love"... Read the full text [free of charge but requires login]
A crucial vote to protect the human rights of sex workers was passed today in Dublin at Amnesty International's decision-making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM). Delegates from around the world authorized the International Board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue.
"Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International's future work on this important issue," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Volume 386, No. 9993, p504, 8 August 2015
A battle in health and human rights erupted last week between Amnesty International and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). The furore started when Amnesty's draft proposal on sex work, to be discussed and voted on at its 32nd International Council Meeting in Dublin, Ireland on Aug 7–11, was leaked online. The proposal calls for its Board to adopt a policy that seeks the highest possible protection of human rights for sex workers through measures including the decriminalisation of sex work. It is based on the organisation's research in countries across four regions, undertaken amid increasing evidence of the harms associated with the criminalisation of sex work. In response, CATW, which objects to the proposal, spearheaded an open letter to Amnesty International's Board of Directors calling for them to reject the policy because of the potential for decriminalisation to support the sex trade and sex trafficking.