“Conservative sectors are opposed to the law’s constitutional principles in Brazil in order to punish vulnerable populations”, as exposed by the Working Group on Intellectual Property of the Brazilian Network for Integration of Peoples (GTPI) and the Brazilian Interdisciplinary Aids Association (ABIA).
“The use of laws to ensure rights is being replaced by the resource to imprisonment for part of the Brazilian population”, argued Pedro Villardi, the coordinator of GTPI and representative of ABIA, on July 22th, during the 2nd Challenging Criminalisation Globally Pre-Conference, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The relationship between criminal laws and HIV/Aids presented by Villardi reveals how the increase of rightist policies around the world reflects in Brazil since the presence of conservative Congressmen and Senators became more robust and pointed how legal power drives the creation of laws that punish vulnerable groups.
To Villardi, it is paramount Brazil overcomes the focus in punishment when of ruling laws since the 1890’s Republic Criminal Code, when there was a legal tool that punished doctors who kept in confidence the names of those with contagious diseases.
“This law, established before the 1940’s Criminal Code, defines contagious transmission as a felony and allows the possibility to categorize HIV transmission criminally as well”, explained Villardi.
The coordinator said that in 2005, a partial reform of the Criminal Code on the language that addressed rape, defined HIV transmission as an aggravating factor which involved increasing penalties, even though rape was already considered an heinous crime.
Since the beginning of 2000, civil society was alert and pressured to prevent several attempts to categorize HIV transmission as a crime, and was supported by the STD, HIV/Aids and the Viral Hepatitis Department of Brazil’s Ministry of Health, and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/Aids (Unaids).
To Villardi, civil society must assemble and rally to defend from the conservative attacks and threats against the effort to face up to stigma and prejudice, terms in constant dispute.
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Image: Aids Accountability