Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sidibe - "We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority."

AIDS Fight Targets Laws Against Homosexuality, UN’s Sidibe Says

via BusinessWeek, by Bill Varner

The battle against AIDS will include a push to overturn laws that criminalize homosexuality in 85 nations, said the head of the coalition of United Nations agencies formed to fight the disease.

Michel Sidibe of Mali, the executive director of UNAIDS, said transmission of the HIV virus that causes AIDS can be up to 10 times greater in countries with repressive laws against homosexuality compared to more open societies. Laws that criminalize homosexuality make it less likely that gays and lesbians will seek treatment, so fighting AIDS can become a “force for social transformation,” he said.

“We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority,” Sidibe told reporters in New York yesterday. “We must insist that the rights of minorities are upheld. If we don’t, the epidemic will grow again.”

The global economic crisis and “growing conservatism” in some countries have combined to stall movement toward overturning colonial-era laws against homosexuality, Sidibe said. The trend, demonstrated by an anti-homosexuality law being debated in Uganda’s parliament, is “very scary,” he said.

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