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Jimmy Leon
Educator activist Amnesty International USA
Co-ordinator for African-rapport.

August 2004

The reason for which I am writing this letter is to create awareness about the LGBT situation in the African continent—the HIV/AIDS preventation not covering LGBT community in the continent and the total discrimination that LGBT people continue to face,harassment,and real violence. Many times this violence is carried out by the state. But even more frequently, the violence is at the hands of other citizens. I must declare that as an active member of Amnesty International USA, I assume that governments around the world can never be so callous. Governments around the world should really be concerned about the many who are not represented by the anti-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. Governments around the world should be also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and not putting them in jeopardy.

The pandemic represents more than a health catastrophe. It is both a product of, and exacerbated by, pervasive violations of human rights. HIV/AIDS is a preventable and manageable disease that has been turned into a pandemic by ignorance, neglect and violations of human rights. The disease most deeply affects those least able to enjoy their rights: the poorest, the weakest, the least educated, and the most stigmatized.

In many parts of the world, being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered is not seen as a right, but as a wrong.

Homosexuality is considered a sin, or an illness, an ideological deviation or a betrayal of one's culture. The repression that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (lgbt) people face is often passionately defended by governments or individuals in the name of religion, culture, morality or public health. By dehumanizing gay people and maginalizing them as "other", leaders know that they are fostering a climate in which the public will not be concerned about the human rights of lgbt people.

Human rights are founded on the concept for the inherent dignity and worth of the human person. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDhr) opens with the simple but powerful statement that " all members of the human family" have equal and inalienable rights , an affirmation that should be seen as of the most significant legacies of the 20th century.

As the new millennium commences, a sizeable minority of the world's population continues to be denied full membership of that "human family". Governments around the world deploy an array of repressive laws and practices to deprive their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered citizens of their dignity and to deny them their basic human rights. Lesbian and gay people are imprisoned under laws which police the bedroom and criminalize a kiss; they are tortured to extract confessions of "deviance" and raped to "cure" them of it; they are killed by "death squads" in societies which view them as "disposables"; they are executed by the state which portrays them as a threat to society.

It is deplorable that African homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. But the proper reaction to crimes committed by many governments against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is disordered. .No government has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large to persecute people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

All governments, including those in the developed world, have an obligation to fulfil the right to health to the maximum of their available resources. Governments have been far too slow in fulfilling their obligations to protect the human right to health by planning, funding, and implementing programs to provide comprehensive prevention, treatment and care. Without these programs, millions of people will die. Highly effective treatment and prevention regimes exist to contain HIV/AIDS, but while most people living in rich countries have access to these treatments, the vast majority of those living in poor countries do not.

Donor nations have not fulfilled their obligations to protect the right to health through cooperative, supportive activities, including providing the funds needed for prevention and treatment to save millions of lives. Making prevention and treatment regimes available to all human beings is not a matter of charity. International assistance and cooperation are imperatives of human rights as set out in international human rights law.


Many governments in countries where the population is most at risk have not provided enough appropriate information about HIV/AIDS, nor provided the necessary educational programs to prevent its spread. Violations of the human right to receive information needed to protect one's health, as set forth in international human rights covenants, are pervasive. Consistent and accurate information about reproductive health and prevention of HIV is crucial to stem the spread of the pandemic.


Governments and international institutions have failed to interpret and enforce international trade agreements regarding pharmaceutical patents in a manner that recognizes their provisions for addressing health emergencies, and is in harmony with and reinforces the right to health as guaranteed in international human rights law. It is clear that this health emergency is sufficient in many countries to permit compulsory licensing and allow parallel imports.

As an active member of Amnesty International USA and as a member of African-rapport and together with the West African LGBT organizations, we are preparing a conference in a West African country to create awareness and to settle strategies to combat the spreading of the HIV virus among our LGBT community. The conference is also intended to promote education on human rights at all levels ---that human rights form the basics of human peace in all areas: In national and International politics, as well as in every village and family.

We appeal to you to give us support and cooperation in our more needed work.

We really need to fight this horrible epidemic in the Ghanaian LGBT and West Africa communities.

Enough is enough, through effective well-co-ordinated co-operation work, we will prevail.

I thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon.


Yours truly

Jimmy Leon
Educator activist Amnesty International USA
Co-ordinator for African-rapport.