Friday, July 16, 2010
Theme:"Rights Here, Right Now"
IRIN/PlusNews has listed some of the issues likely to top the list during the five-day event.
Universal Access – Under different circumstances, the champagne would be on ice as the December 2010 deadline for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care approaches; instead, the HIV/AIDS fraternity at AIDS 2010 will be going back to the drawing board, as pitifully few countries have achieved the universal access targets set by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2005.
Participants will look for lessons to be learned. Prevention, in particular, remains a huge challenge: for every two people put on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment there are five new infections. Discussions on new strategies are likely to focus on HIV prevention in high-risk groups like sex workers and mobile populations
New Science – Researchers will use AIDS 2010 to unveil progress in new prevention technologies. A positive result from CAPRISA 004, a large South African trial of a microbicide gel containing the ARV drug, tenofovir, would give a welcome boost to a field that has promised much but produced few positive results.
Cost-saving in HIV programming – As international donor support for HIV shrinks, policy-makers and implementers are keen to find cheaper and more efficient ways to run HIV treatment programmes.
Possible solutions include task-shifting – using less qualified personnel to carry out some functions usually performed by doctors and nurses – and simplified HIV treatment programmes. Pressure is also mounting on national governments, particularly in developing countries, to increase their budgets for HIV.
The cost-effectiveness of new treatment guidelines by the World Health Organization, which recommend putting people on ARVs at a CD4 count (a measure of immune strength) of 350, up from a previous recommendation of 200, will be examined
Treatment as prevention - Evidence is mounting that ARV treatment greatly lowers the likelihood of transmitting HIV, as well as mortality from tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections. Mathematical modelling studies show that implementing voluntary universal testing programmes, and immediately starting ARV treatment for people who test positive, could eventually eliminate HIV all together.
Activists will use the possibility of an end to the AIDS epidemic to encourage tired donor nations to increase rather than cut their financial support by emphasising that more people on ARVs will mean fewer new infections and, in the long term, a need for less funding.
The difficulties and possibilities of treatment as prevention, using ARVs to prevent HIV in high-risk groups (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and the short-term use of ARVs to reduce the chance of HIV infection after potential exposure (post-exposure prophylaxis), will all be dissected.
HIV and injection drug use – One of the main modes of transmission in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America will be discussed in presentations on preventing high-risk behaviour among injecting drug users (IDUs), their human rights, and their inclusion in HIV prevention and treatment programmes.
You may be interested also in reviewing the Vienna Declaration to which many countries are signatories.
Peace and tolerance.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Protest by UK + USA needed
Following the June Iraqi police raid on an LGBT run safe house in the city of Kerbala ( see http://iraqilgbt.org.uk/news-home/iraqi-police-raid-karbala-safe-house/ ), Interior Ministry forces have raided a male beauty parlour in Baghdad seizing five gay men.
The new raid happened 25 June on a house used as a business for services such as waxing and massage in the Baghdad district of Karada.
Such services have long been used in a country with a body building tradition.
Iraqi media coverage, which included three days of TV reports, however described the house as used for prostitution.
Witnesses have told Iraqi LGBT that this was not the case.
Neither waxing nor massage is illegal in Iraq however it is 'forbidden' by Shia clerics.
Despite claims to the contrary, homosexuality is illegal and it is on this basis that the raid happened and the men were arrested.
The house was managed by Sabah and the workers arrested are Ehsan, Samer, Alaha and Mustafa.
Eyewitnesses who were outside the building say Ministry of Interior forces raided at 3pm. Those on rooftops heard screams for help and saw the men being severely beaten by uniformed men carrying cattle prods. They say one was taken into custody on a stretcher.
One of the eyewitnesses who spoke with Amnesty International has since disappeared.
Iraqi LGBT has received no information about where the men were taken. However previous seizures of gays, lesbians and transgender people have resulted in them being handed to religious militia and their subsequent torture and discovery of their mutilated bodies.
An Iraqi online news site quoted "security sources" in a local newspaper saying: "After gathering evidence and information the police issued a order from a judge to raid the house where the house owner of the shop and a number of gay, mostly college students were caught red-handed, and have confessed openly their shameful work which is contrary to public decency, they were seduced by the devil to commit these acts."
The newspaper said forces had "captured a laptop computer and CDs from a pornographic network".
Iraqi LGBT calls for the British and American government's to follow the lead of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, with whom it is working, and investigate and condemn the raids.
Iraqi LGBT has noted that in her latest speech outlining the American government's support for oppressed LGBT throughout the world Hillary Clinton failed to mention Iraq.
Iraqi LGBT is meeting the British Foreign Office today and will press for an investigation and public condemnation by Minister William Hague of this latest attack on their friends by the Iraqi government.
The Foreign Office's latest Human Rights Report accepts Iraqi government claims that "homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Iraq".
Ali Hili, Iraqi LGBT leader said: "it is past time for the British and Americans to publicly condemn what they know are the actions of the Iraqi government."
"Hundreds of lesbians and gays have been killed to near silence by the world. What needs to happen - what can we do - before the world pays any attention? Before people start pressing their leaders to tell the Iraqi government to stop? What? We plead for an answer."
"We know why politicians would rather people forgot about what is happening in Iraq. But Iraqi lesbians, gay men and transgender people particularly feel that they have been forgotten by their fellow LGBT, especially those in power in the West. Why?"
Iraqi LGBT has documented 738 deaths of LGBT in the past five years.
Iraqi LGBT is a human rights organisation established in September 2005 after the rise of wave of violence against the LGBT community in Iraq, we felt this is our responsibility to stand up and start an action to alert the world on this genocide, with members working secretly undercover in Iraq, the UK and other countries.
Report about the raid on Iraqi news website
Obama, Clinton vow to defend gay rights, adding 'it's not who we are as Americans'
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Report 2009
Iraqi Lgbt - Communications
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
Mob: +44 7986 008 420
Monday, July 12, 2010
The event attracts all those interested in fashion and as we know that includes the LGBT community many of the homeless MSMs now fewer in numbers since the dubious closure of the shelter were out after hours. The population of homeless MSMs is migratory so there are usually new faces that appear in the cliques or old faces that show up after a long absence. The police were seen on one occasion on that first night by my sources harassing some of the men by the New Kingston Shopping Centre and several of the drug addicts who occupy the gully nearby known as The Gulf were chased away in a bid supposedly to clear the streets. At first instance the gay men were warned not to loiter (as the cops maybe figured they were just in the area for the activities) when they were asked what they were doing on the road the men told the cops they were passing through. The following night Saturday July 10, 2010 despite day two of the Fashion Block event being held elsewhere around 11pm the same patrol team coincidentally came across the same set of homeless MSMs along with some of their friends in a different section of the district where the officers recognised the men and accused them of being male prostitutes they were harassed with one suffering hits with a baton and told to move away and not to loiter.
Unfortunately the men didn't capture any of the officers identifying numbers or that of the patrol vehicle used.
The group of MSMs that usually converge along a particular strip as well have been given a stern warning by the police. Several taxi men who know of the MSM group members have warned them as well to avoid loitering as the cops aren’t joking as even they the taxi drivers who would normally wait out the night for night duty calls on their respective company CB radios along the hip trip and in front of the business hotels were told by the cops to reduce their waiting times until the state of emergency is near done or ended as no one will be allowed to loiter. Vendors have been told to clear early during the weekdays.
Sadly on Sunday July 11, 2010 there was another “cleaning” of sorts after the final night of Fashion Block along the business district again near the police station. The patrol cleared the streets which included female commercial sex workers who ply their trade on the northern tip of New Kingston were also warned with one woman taken away and is feared charged for resisting arrest as she was not willing to comply to the officers requests. Several men were also searched and held for marijuana and other contraband such as knives etc.
Commendable is the work by the police in maintaining security but to target supposedly gay men is not my idea of keeping the peace also of equal blame are how the men carry themselves I feel, it is well known that profiling takes place when it comes to suspected LGBT people and sometimes we do attract unnecessary attention to ourselves knowing the possible consequences when that happens. Some of the men were said to be flamboyantly dressed as even passers-by commented that while people are free to be who they are one has to be careful so as to avoid any problems as the men call down things unto themselves. Unfortunately I had to leave Fashion Block early on Sunday night but I did see some of them but only one in the group I saw was what some called flaming which is relative in my view. The difficulty is while one doesn’t want to be too prescriptive in how an individual should carry themselves as it could be viewed as condescending or “bad mind” in the Jamaican context how does one get the message that how one is attired attracts a certain response in real terms? If you know the answer, let me know.
Sadly here is another chronicle of abuse towards a section of the LGBT community seemingly damned by virtue of who they are, the advocacy systems overlook them generally save and except for specific crisis interventions after the fact when they have suffered some abuse and no preventative measures or programs are designed to guide this group out of trouble. One would say why do they put themselves in harm’s way by doing things in a haphazard manner? But how do they gage their behaviours when basic survival is what is at stake here?
I do not think homeless or displaced MSM would deliberately put themselves in harms way by engaging in commercial sex work when they cannot gain meaningful employment or have no way to earn skills under the absent social interventions that are a part of the mandate of the advocacy groups out now. We know the consequences when a man is publicly outed, it could spell ones demise.
Those of us who are very concerned and are on the sidelines watching are helpless for now as we can’t really do the things that are needed in the short term to try to advert this lack of intervention, to simply give money to them when one can and maybe try to talk to the homeless guys without the proper qualified psychological and social support systems is not of much help, when the matter of the homeless men issue was raised recently with a certain human rights lawyer associated with an advocacy group he basically dismissed the issue by saying it’s a worldwide problem and is not new. So I guess we should just go shut up and not critique this clear oversight of this highly marginalised group. Does anybody care?
We must also remember that under the present state of emergency now the detention orders cannot be challenged if one is held by the police and your release or charges are purely discretionary via the Minster of National Security through a recommendatory body specially set up to hear such complaints with a long waiting list. They however are powerless in a sense and can only recommend possible actions by the minister and cannot give or authorise any direct legal recourse towards a person who appears before it. Hearing of the over crowding of cells at stations almost everywhere the situation is not looking good add to that the unfortunate situation if some cross dresser or an alleged gay man whose status becomes known in a cell, the rest I don’t have to tell you. One can also be held for up to 30 days without or before bail is even considered for minor offences. The court in effect is powerless carry out any proper preliminary hearings or the benefit of habeas corpus to a citizen.
As always let us watch this issue to see of any changes are on the horizon for this group of the LGBT community.
Peace and tolerance.
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
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- Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
- Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please view labels, post list or exit.
Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
CLICK HERE for related posts/labels and HERE from the gayjamaicawatch's BLOG containing information I am aware of. If you know of any such reports or incidents please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it