Senegal: UNAIDS lauds release of men jailed for their sexual orientation
The men were arrested last December and sentenced the following month by the Senegalese courts for “acts against nature and the creation of an association of criminals.”
UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), civil society organizations, the French Embassy and the Swedish Embassy representing the European Union (EU) mounted a campaign to secure the release of the detainees, who work for an organization called AIDES Senegal.
“Homophobia and criminalization based on a person’s sexual orientation is fueling the AIDS epidemic,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “We urge Senegal to remove such laws that block the AIDS response.”
The agency stressed that the rights of men who have sex with men must be protected, with laws prohibiting sexual acts between consenting adults in private being amended to curb stigma and discrimination.
Further, UNAIDS called for the enforcement of anti-discrimination, the provision of legal aid services and the promotion of campaigns that address homophobia.