The UNAIDS (United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court of India to annul key provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The world agency expressed hope that this decision sets the trend and is followed in other countries to remove unjust laws criminalizing homosexuality. IPC Section 377 criminalises sexual relations between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, “I applaud the brave activists, civil society organizations and community groups that have fought long and hard for this injustice to be reversed.” Criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual relations is a violation of human rights and legitimizes prejudice and violence against LGBTI people. Criminalization hinders people from accessing and using HIV prevention, testing and treatment services and increases their risk of acquiring HIV, the UNAID said in a statement.
The UNAIDS urged countries to ensure full respect of the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, through repealing laws that prohibit sex between consenting adults in private, enforcing laws to protect people from violence and discrimination, addressing homophobia and transphobia and ensuring that crucial health services are made available.
In June 2016, United Nations Member States committed in the Political Declaration on ending AIDS to promote laws and policies that ensure the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for children, adolescents and young people, particularly those living with, at risk of and affected by HIV, so as to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that they face.