12 Jul 2012

UN Global Commission on HIV and Law slams proposed laws in Samoa

11:21 am on 12 July 2012

A member of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law says new laws being considered in Samoa could take the country back 20 years in its fight against the AIDS epidemic.

A new report issued by the Commission has found that punitive laws are among factors fuelling the epidemic.

A Commissioner, Charles Chauvel, who is also a New Zealand Labour Party MP, says some countries in the Pacific appear unwilling to take on the Commission's recommendations.

"Of real concern is the fact that there are three proposed laws in Samoa at the moment that would drive vulnerable groups underground: first, one that would reaffirm the old British anti-sodomy statute; one that would crack down on cross-dressing; and one that would criminalise members of the same sex who are not related to you."

Charles Chauvel says these laws go in the opposite direction to where Pacific HIV law needs to be.