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Monday, May 7, 2012

ATTN: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights




ATTN: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Today a piece in the Jamaica Gleaner caught my attention.  More particularly, some quoted statements from the UN Special Envoy, Dr. David Greene astonished me.  (article:

The segment of the article which most concerns me is this:

"For me, that (repealing the buggery law) is not the main problem. The main problem we are dealing with is the human rights, generally speaking," he reasons. "People are entitled to access care, because if they don't, that could affect society on a whole."
Greene believes the State has an obligation to protect citizens on a whole to ensure that people with communicable diseases have access to care and treatment.

He reasons: "If I put the accent on reducing stigma and discrimination and human rights, I am ensuring that there is no overt discrimination for PLHIV in the workplace and in the school. This is because I don't want to exclude one per cent of the population, or 30 per cent of men who have sex with men (MSM), from having access to those things that other people have. Just like how I would not exclude people from certain services because of their race, gender or where they live - as happens to job applicants living in inner-city communities."

According to the UN envoy, it is important that PLHIV have certain responsibilities - to go and get tested, to adhere to their regime of treatment, to ensure that they educate their family and friends.
"So homosexuals have the right to health care," Greene argues, "but they also have to behave in particular ways to conform to the norms of the communities. If they expect to be treated a certain way, they can't behave in ways that are subversive to the community." For example, he notes, members of the homosexual community should not "prey on young, vulnerable boys". They must act responsibly, thus balancing the human rights structure."

First -- That "repealing the buggery law" is not the main problem is surely a matter for debate, whether we are discussing HIV transmission or human rights.  It seems that a UN representative should be far less circumspect on the subject.

Second -- His assertion that "homosexuals have a right to healthcare" but have to behave in a particular way, according to "the norms of the community" is absurd on its face. Surely, the fact of the "buggery law" itself points to the fact that homosexuals have no choice BUT to be "subversive" to the community.  Additionally, his statement hints that access to health care is a sort of horrible quid pro quo based upon "good" behavior amongst gay people.  That is purely disgraceful.

Third -- He implies that homosexuals "prey on young, vulnerable boys."  That he would say this, as a UN envoy, is astonishing.  This is one of the prevailing myths behind which homophobic people -- and their leaders -- consistently hide their bigotry, and is often used as an excuse for human rights violations, or worse.  Surely Dr. Greene understands this.

I have posted a story about Dr. Greene's statements on my web blog (

I would appreciate any clarification you can offer regarding Dr. Greene's remarks.


Joe Delmonaco
Blog: Flaneur
New York, NY  USA

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