Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


To the Government of India
· Repeal section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which effectively criminalizes sex between men and is frequently used as justification for harassment of HIV/AIDS educators working with men who have sex with men.

· Ensure that complaints by HIV/AIDS outreach organizations against law enforcement personnel are promptly and thoroughly investigated by independent, adequately trained investigatory staff of the police department or the judiciary. In particular, implement the recommendations made by the National Police Commission in 1980, specifically those that call for a mandatory judicial inquiry in cases of alleged rape, death, or grievous injury of people in police custody and the establishment of investigative bodies whose members should include civilians as well as police and judicial authorities.

· Through the Home Ministry, strengthen training of the police force at all levels on the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and the life-saving efforts of HIV/AIDS outreach workers.

· Monitor conditions of detention particularly of women in prostitution and men who have sex with men. Ensure accountability of police officers and wardens who engage in sexual abuse, as well as other violations of national and international standards for conditions of detention. Establish a civilian review board or civilian ombudsman committee comprising judges and lawyers to monitor police stations and ensure that Supreme Court guidelines on treatment of persons in custody, as established in D. K. Basu v. State of West Bengal, are strictly enforced. NGO input should also be solicited.

· Parliament should conduct an inquiry into human rights violations against HIV/AIDS outreach workers with an eye toward strengthening legal protections.

· Government officials at all levels should use public events and contacts with the media to condemn police violence against HIV/AIDS workers and to reiterate the extreme importance of HIV/AIDS prevention activities for high-risk groups.

· Ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. India signed the convention in 1997 but has yet to ratify it.

· Include information on the treatment of HIV/AIDS workers in future periodic reports to human rights treaty bodies established for the:

_ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (overdue as of December 31, 2001)

_ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

To the National AIDS Control Organisation
· As a respondent to the petition for repeal of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, currently before the Delhi High Court, make a strong written statement advocating for repeal of the section on the grounds that it impedes HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities for men who have sex with men.

· Ensure that state-level AIDS Control Societies funded by NACO, in consultation with state-level Home Ministries, develop and implement a formal plan for a budgeted program of monitoring of and regular public reporting on violence and abuse against marginalized groups at high risk of HIV/AIDS. Project directors of the State AIDS Control Societies should be required to take effective measures to support NGOs working on HIV/AIDS prevention and information services when they are harassed by local police or other authorities and should work with home ministries to ensure all perpetrators of harassment of AIDS workers are brought to justice.

· Require directors of the state-level AIDS Control Societies to work with the state-level Home Ministries to ensure that police at all levels are trained on the fundamentals of HIV transmission and care for persons with AIDS and are sensitized to the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention among high-risk groups.

· Expand access to condoms for women in prostitution and men who have sex with men through government health facilities, commercial outlets and other means. Every State AIDS Control Society director should be required regularly to demonstrate his or her society's efforts to ensure that all persons in high-risk groups have a reliable and sustainable means of obtaining condoms.

· Use the leadership role of NACO, including public statements and appearances by high-level NACO staff, to advocate forcefully for the protection of the human rights of groups vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, including sex workers (both men and women) and men who have sex with men. NACO's stated position in policy documents on the central importance of reaching out to men who have sex with men in HIV/AIDS programs should be particularly emphasized in public events and meetings, especially those covered by the media.

To the World Bank, United Nations agencies and bilateral donors supporting HIV/AIDS programs in India:
· Ensure that monitoring of police harassment of HIV/AIDS outreach workers and other HIV/AIDS-related human rights abuses is an important and regular part of World Bank project monitoring in India. Accelerate surveillance and monitoring of NGO reports of police violence through the United Nations-supported monitoring system and other means, and ensure widespread reporting of data collected on this subject. The World Bank should conduct a thorough review of NACO's monitoring of human rights violations that impede HIV/AIDS prevention.

· Strengthen monitoring of state-level allocations of national AIDS program funds, paying particular note to the adequacy of state-level support for groups working with men who have sex with men. Ensure that applications of these groups for funds are fairly considered.

· Support the repeal of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as a violation of the prohibition against discrimination of men who have sex with men and as an impediment to the national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Repeal of section 377 is consistent with the United Nations International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page