Malawi: Law breaking gays have right to healthcare


Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi

Malawi’s attorney general says that, like other criminals, gay men have the right to receive health care without fear of discrimination.

According to the Nyasa Times, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale argued that, as they are taxpayers, sexual minorities are entitled to medical treatment like any “other citizens that have violated the law.”

Kaphale made the statement to explain his government’s $388 888 funding request from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a campaign to target 40 000 men who have sex with men (MSM).

The MSM campaign will include HIV testing, counselling, treatment, condoms and programmes to reduce risky behaviour.

New Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume added that MSM should not be afraid to be open about their sexuality with healthcare workers who must ensure “the confidentiality of their patients.”

While male and female homosexuality is illegal in Malawi, with penalties of up to 14-years imprisonment, the government told a UN human rights committee last year that the authorities would not enforce the ban.

In March, Malawi’s then Health Minister Jean Kalilani insisted, however, that the country will not end its gay sex ban. “It is still a crime to anyone engaging in the practice,” she said.

It is believed that three men – Amon Champyuni, Mathew Bello and Mussa Chiwisi – remain jailed on homosexuality charges in Malawi.

In April, the country effectively banned same-sex marriage through the adoption of the new Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Law which defines marriage as only being possible between people of the opposite sex.

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