Calling For Increased Police Protection For MSM, WSW

Armen Hareyan's picture

HIV/AIDSadvocates at Human Rights Watch on Friday called on Jamaicanauthorities to scale up their efforts to protect men who have sex with men, aswell as women who have sex with women, the AP/InternationalHerald Tribunereports. The announcement comes after a group of about 20 people attackedseveral men at their home in Mandeville, Jamaica, onJan. 29, leaving one man severely injured and another missing. "WhileJamaican police have begun to reach out to gay and lesbian communities, thischange hasn't reached many police stations, where protection remains an illusion,"HRW HIV/AIDS advocate Rebecca Schleifer said in a statement (AP/InternationalHerald Tribune, 2/1).

During the recent attack, a group approached the house and demanded that thefour men leave the community, according to human rights advocates who spokewith the survivors. The men called the police twice before the group attackedthe house. The police arrived about 90 minutes after the men first called forhelp and 30 minutes after the group broke into the house, according to thestatement. HRW said the incident is the most recent in a series of"homophobic mob violence" in the country during the last year (HRWstatement, 2/1).


Police spokesperson Camika Parker said that MSM and WSW receive the same levelof police protection as the rest of the population (AP/InternationalHerald Tribune, 2/1).

HIV-positive people and MSM are discriminated against heavily in Jamaica. ManyMSM in Jamaicahave been reluctant to disclose their HIV-positive status because they feardiscrimination if their sexual orientation or HIV status becomes known. SomeHIV/AIDS advocates in the country have been increasing HIV education in aneffort to reduce the violence and discrimination (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/22/07).

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