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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, E/CN.4/2004/56, December 23, 2003

64.  The Special Rapporteur further highlights the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the context of torture related to HIV/AIDS.  Attitudes and beliefs stemming from myths and fears associated with HIV/AIDS and sexuality contribute to stigma and discrimination against sexual minorities. In addition, the fact that members of these minorities are perceived as transgressing gender barriers or challenging predominant conceptions of gender roles seems to contribute to their vulnerability to torture as a way to “punish” their unaccepted behaviour.  In this respect, the Special Rapporteur would like to recall the report of the former Special Rapporteur to the General Assembly (A/56/156, paras. 17-25), in which he referred to information he had received according to which members of sexual minorities, when arrested or when lodging a complaint, are subjected to further victimization by the police, including verbal and physical assault.  It was also reported that members of sexual minorities receive inadequate medical treatment in public hospitals on grounds of their gender identity, which, in case of people living with HIV/AIDS, could lead to very serious consequences. In this regard, the International Guidelines state that “responses by States to the epidemic should include the implementation of laws and policies to eliminate systemic discrimination, including where it occurs against these [vulnerable] groups”.[80]

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  1. HIV/AIDS and Human Rights:  International Guidelines, United Nations publication,  Sales No. E.98.XIV.1, United Nations, New York and Geneva, 1998, para 85