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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mission to Colombia, E/CN.4/2005/64/Add.3, November 26, 2004

B. Sexual discrimination and the AIDS pandemic

75. In accordance with the nature and the spirit of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur considers that all citizens, regardless of, inter alia, their sexual orientation, have the right to express themselves, and to seek, receive and impart information. The Special Rapporteur also considers that Governments have the obligation to provide citizens with reliable information on health issues in general and, bearing in mind the extreme gravity of the epidemic, on AIDS in particular.

76. In Colombia, despite the crucial role women play in almost all sectors of the society, sexual matters are still marked by male dominance. For instance, government officials  have  often  used  concepts  such  as  “homosexuality” and,  words  like  “homosexual” to denigrate their political enemies. Gay and lesbian groups and individuals’ right to freedom of opinion and expression is hindered by the opposition they find in the media where sexual issues, especially homosexuality, are treated in a prudish and traditional way and never broadcast on prime time.

77. It emerged during the meeting that the Special Rapporteur held with representatives of the Ministry for Social Protection that homosexuals and prostitutes are severely discriminated against and stigmatized, as they are considered to bear the main responsibility for the spreading of AIDS in the country. […]

Link to full text of the report:  Mission report-SR Freedom of Opinion-Colombia-2004-eng