Add your voice: end the unjust criminalization of HIV

Published 30, Nov, 2017
Author // Guest Authors - Revolving Door

This Friday, December 1, is World AIDS Day. Help us send a message to Minister Wilson-Raybould, and her provincial and territorial colleagues, that they must take action to end unjust HIV criminalization in Canada,

Add your voice: end the unjust criminalization of HIV

November 27, 2017Today, in advance of World AIDS Day, the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization (CCRHC) released its Community Consensus Statement signed by over 150 HIV and human rights organizations across Canada. The statement, which you can read on the CCHRC website, calls on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to take specific actions to end unjust criminal prosecutions against people living with HIV.

Why is this needed?

Right now, people living with HIV in Canada are singled out for criminal prosecutions, convictions and imprisonment for allegedly not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners—even when there is little or no possibility of transmission. As the federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould noted last year on World AIDS Day, the criminal justice system has not caught up to the existing science, and the “over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure” contributes to stigma and undermines public health. Change is long overdue.

What does the Community Consensus Statement call for?

The statement declares that, in accordance with international guidance, criminal prosecutions should be limited to cases of actual, intentional transmission of HIV. To this end, the endorsers of the statement across the country call for the following:

- federal and provincial Attorneys-General should develop sound prosecutorial guidelines to preclude unjust HIV prosecutions;

- the federal government should reform the Criminal Code to limit the unjust use of the criminal law against people living with HIV, including removing HIV non-disclosure from the reach of sexual assault laws; and

- federal, provincial and territorial governments should support resources and training to address misinformation, fear and stigma related to HIV, for all actors in the criminal justice system, including police, Crown prosecutors and judges.

How can you help?

We need you to add your voice and share the Community Consensus Statement with Minister Wilson-Raybould and all of the provincial and territorial ministers of justice. You can use our pre-written tweet or send one of your own and include a link to the statement.

Additionally, you can share the statement with the provincial and territorial justice ministers by tweeting to them or sending an email. Visit the CCRHC website to submit an email to all the ministers, or send a tweet with a link to the Community Consensus Statement. Each minister’s Twitter handle is listed below.

British Columbia: Hon. David Eby, @Dave_Eby

Alberta: Hon. Kathleen Ganley, @KathleenGanley

Saskatchewan: Hon. Don Morgan, Q.C., @SaskMLA

Manitoba: Hon. Heather Stefanson, @Min_Stefanson

Ontario: Hon. Yasir Naqvi, @Yasir_Naqvi

Quebec: Stéphanie Vallée, @ValeeStephanie

New Brunswick: Hon. Denis Landry, @Gov_NB  

Nova Scotia: Hon. Mark Furey, @MarkFurey1

Prince Edward Island: Hon. Wade MacLauchlan @WadeMacLauchlan,

Newfoundland & Labrador: Hon. Andrew Parsons, @andrew_parsons1

Yukon: Hon. Tracy-Anne McPhee, @YukonGov

Northwest Territories: Louis Sebert, @AssemblyNWT

Nunavut: Hon. Jeannie Ehaloak, @GOVofNUNAVUT

This Friday, December 1, is World AIDS Day. Help us send a message to Minister Wilson-Raybould, and her provincial and territorial colleagues, that they must take action to end unjust HIV criminalization in Canada, including by heeding the actions widely supported by organizations across the country in the Community Consensus Statement.

In solidarity,

The Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization

About the Author

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at editor@positivelite.com