Tuesday , 23 July 2019

MSP calls for improved LGBTI rights and AIDS services in Malawi



An MSP has called on the First Minister to work with the government of Malwai to help boost LGBTI rights and widen access to HIV/AIDS treatment services.

Writing to Nicola Sturgeon ahead of World Aids Day, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has drawn attention to the challenges facing LGBTI people and those with HIV/AIDS living in the African nation, with which Scotland has historic and ongoing links.

In his letter, the MSP for Orkney wrote: “Scotland’s relationship with Malawi began with David Livingstone and today our countries are closer than ever. We are rightly proud of the ties that we have built up with our friends in Malawi and the difference that development assistance from Scotland has made in the country. Working in partnership, we have delivered real improvements to health and education, the environment and energy, agriculture and trade, and arts and culture.

“One of the major challenges that Malawi faces is the high prevalence of HIV. Real progress has been made in reducing the number of new infections but at present, there are real questions over whether the LGBTI community living with HIV will be able to receive the support and treatment they need.

“Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, gay people in Malawi still face legal barriers and stigma that makes it hugely difficult for them to go about their lives. With research suggesting that more than 20% of MSM in Malawi are living with HIV, the potential adverse health consequences of this are clear.
“If we are to eradicate the scourge of HIV/AIDS then we cannot ignore marginalised communities. Tackling legal and social prejudice against LGBTI people is fundamental to ending AIDS. Living under the threat of persecution or prosecution will not help people living with HIV remain healthy or prevent the further spread of the disease.

“With equal marriage now on the statute books, Scotland and the UK have led the world on LGBTI rights. Ahead of World Aids Day, I urge you to press the case for LGBTI rights with President Mutharika and work with our partners in Malawi to ensure access to HIV treatment is not restricted.”

In 2005, the then First Minister Jack McConnell signed the Scotland-Malawi Partnership, in which 94,000 Scots and 198,000 Malawians are actively involved.

While the government of Malawi moved to suspend anti-gay laws in 2012, a law introduced earlier this year mentions gay sex as comparable to rape and sexual harassment. Human Rights Watch has found that even unenforced anti-gay laws have dangerous consequences for LGBTI people in Malawi, including restricted access to health services.

Research has revealed an HIV prevalence rate of 21.3% amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malawi. Mr McArthur has warned that the threat of persecution and prosecution on grounds of sexuality will make it hugely challenging for people living with HIV in the LGBTI community in Malawi to receive necessary treatment.

About Andrew Page

Andrew Page
Andrew is KaleidoScot's sports editor and photographer. An experienced blogger, Andrew was raised in the Hebrides and currently lives in Renfrewshire. Andrew became an active equality campaigner at the time of the Section 28 debate, and has particular interests in faith issues and promoting LGBTI equality in sport. Andrew was shortlisted for the Icon Award's 2015 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. ” … a law introduced earlier this year mentions gay sex as comparable to rape and sexual harassment.”

    Could Andrew Page remind us what LAW he is talking about and exactly what it says about a consensual, same-sex being comparable to rape or sexual harassment. As far as I know, LAWS do not compare offences with one another. And as far as I know, no law was introduced this year comparing those acts which he claims.

    Your MSP says: “Living under the threat of… prosecution will not help … ”

    The LGBTs are NOT living under the threat of prosecution for consensual, same-sex acts. Although these are still technically illegal, GoM has stated (and documented) to the UN that it has no interest in prosecuting such acts. In fact there has only ever been one such prosecution, which was very stupid and cannot be defended. The men were pardoned and released within weeks of conviction.

  2. Pointless looking for help from a First Minister, be that the current one, Sturgeon or a past one like McConnell.

    All you’ll get is hypocrisy and lies because we know those politicians would do nothing to stop the Scottish government’s bigoted law officers prosecuting and securing the conviction and imprisonment for political rhetoric of a medical scientist who had discovered a cure for AIDS.

    Those politicians would then do nothing to stop such a medical scientist suffering a death in custody at the hands of other prisoners or prison officers, thereby preventing the newly discovered cure for AIDS ever being published about and developed and used in hospitals to save lives.

    But it is not just AIDS – it is every other disease known to man that Scottish medical scientists might be able to cure but could be stopped because these failing politicians would do nothing to defend medical scientists under threat from the unjustified persecution at the hands of the police state.

    The politicians tell lies claiming that they are for this that or the next thing but in reality they spend precious taxes on a bigoted, gangster police state which locks people up for their politics.

    Peter Dow is a Scottish scientist and a republican socialist whose legal human rights are cruelly violated by the police and courts in Aberdeen, where he lives.

    Peter Dow’s political defence blog publishes the truth about the wrongful and unjust royalist arrests, prosecutions, convictions and punishments he endures.


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