Peers use debate on the UK’s upcoming role as chair of the Commonwealth to highlight the impact of inequality on meeting the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS
On 16 March 2017, during a debate on the UK’s future relationship with the Commonwealth, peers from across all parts of the chamber, highlighted the negative impact that criminalisation and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation can have on meeting the UN’s commitment to ending AIDS by 2030.
40 of the 77 states that criminalise same-sex relationships are in the Commonwealth, and these laws have an immediate impact on the ability of groups most disproportionately affected by HIV on the ability to seek advice, use prevention and access treatment and services.
Baroness Barker, Vice-chair of the APPG on HIV & AIDS noted the Academy of Science of South Africa findings that laws justified on the grounds that they improve public health have an ‘immediate and destructive impact’ not only on individual and public health but also crime, economic empowerment and the rule of law. This point was similarly reinforced by Lord Cashman and Lord Collins their contributions to the debate.
Beyond the immediate health impacts of same-sex relationship criminalisation, Lord McConnell and Lord Crisp both noted the detrimental economic effects that HIV and AIDS have had on some of the poorest countries in the world to encourage UK leadership in international development.
The full debate can be found here (https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2017-03-16/debates/E9678A92-E2C0-4FE...).