Resolving to save lives: HIV/AIDS prevalence among MSM in the anglophone Caribbean and OAS resolutions 2435 and 2504
Caribbean Vulnerable Communities, Kingston, Jamaica
Issues: Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 32% among MSM versus 1.8% in the general population parallels the 10 other Anglophone Caribbean countries which retain buggery laws. This fact has been linked to the conflict between human rights-based universal access and a homophobic domestic legislative framework. Such conflict has stymied the effectiveness of the Caribbean’s HIV/AIDS mitigation strategies and it is proposed that OAS Resolutions 2435 and 2504, which eschew human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, can be used to resolve this untenable situation.
Description: A review of domestic and international jurisprudence applicable to the Anglophone Caribbean’s treatment of the issue of human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and the process of development and ultimate implications of OAS resolutions 2435 and 2504 was conducted to identify the indicative obligations for these states with regard to the subject matter of the Resolutions.
Lessons learned: The findings indicate or strongly suggest that OAS Resolutions 2435 and 2504 have birthed binding international obligations for Anglophone Caribbean states with regard to human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, these states are now in clear violation of their obligations to protect the health and life of MSM and can no longer retain domestic legislation and policies which marginalize MSM, drive them underground, limit their access to critical life-saving interventions, and stymie HIV prevention and care in the region. This recognition prompts the resolution of the ongoing conflict between the political and human rights agendas of Anglophone Caribbean states within the Inter-American System.
Next steps: The Anglo-phone Caribbean states which retain buggery laws should immediately repeal them. Failing this, affected MSM individuals or groups should bring claims against these states in the Inter-American System because of ineffective domestic remedies with regard to human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.