Diversity and HIV
BY EMMA GÓMEZ
TRANSLATED BY MARIE WUNDER
Inclusion is still a pending issue in several sectors of the country, both for the indigenous community, women and youth, but especially for the sexual diversity community. Diego Lima, from the Observatory of Human Rights and Violence due to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Project Coordinator at Lambda Association, refers that there are still cases of exclusion and discrimination against people who make public their sexual preference or who recognize themselves as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) community. So far this year they have followed up on 78 complaints for the crimes of aggression, threats, discrimination and injuries. There are 76 complaints of human rights violations in the first half of this year. There are several types of violence, but the report to be presented at the end of this year highlights that there are many cases of institutional violence and there are many cases of homicidal patterns against people of the community, which they see with concern, so they are taking actions to raise awareness, said Lima.
In the first ten months of this year, 30 murders of community members have been reported, however, the Public Prosecutor´s Office (MP) only investigates four cases. In 2022, 29 cases were reported, but in 2021 there were 30; each year the number of homicides and attacks against this vulnerable sector increases. Among the actions taken by the Observatory is the advocacy in awareness-raising dialogues in the departments. The Observatory meets with profe sionals, parents, young people and sectors of civil society to talk about the importance of knowing the diversity and human rights of all people in the community. Among the departments with the highest incidence of crimes and aggressions are the eastern and northern departments of the country. “It has been complex because there are still beliefs and prejudices about the LGBTIQ+ community, especially in indigenous communities” Lima said. The dialogue roundtables are being implemented in the western highlands, but the methodology will be extended to other territories to continue addressing the issue of inclusion. Among the challenges is that public institutions do not have the capacity to record and document, much less are they interested in investing in violence prevention, she says.
Every year there are more and more efforts to prevent more cases of people infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Although there is still no cure so far, there are several drugs and treatments to counteract its effects. On December 1 of each year, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. There are still taboos surrounding the subject and addressing the issue is still very complex, especially in rural communities, Lima explains. On this date, Universal Access and Human Rights is the motto, which calls to guarantee treatment to those living with the infection. At the Observatory, the main focus is to address the issue with people of diversity who are among the vulnerable groups. Activists assure that the date is an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and improve the understanding of HIV as a global public health problem. People living with HIV are at risk of discrimination, violence and aggression. This can happen in various sectors of society, but it is strongest with people in the LGBTIQ+ community, Lima said. The work of activists and the Observatory is to influence for a better coexi tence in society. That people can share and live together in harmony, and that these dates and spaces are to build a space where the human rights of each person can be guaranteed, she concluded.