Rapes fuel Bangladesh AIDS crisis
Gay.com U.K. SUMMARY: Police officers and crime lords who
abuse gay men and sex workers are stoking an emerging AIDS
web sites) epidemic in Bangladesh, a Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Police officers and crime lords who sexually abuse gay men and
workers are stoking an emerging AIDS epidemic in Bangladesh, a
Rights Watch (HRW) report warned on Tuesday.
Additionally, the officers often attack AIDS outreach workers,
direct blow to the people attempting to contain the virus.
"Bangladesh is brutalizing exactly the people it most
needs as allies
if it is to avoid a severe AIDS epidemic," Human Rights
researcher Vivek Maru said.
"Violence against at-risk people traumatizes them and
drives them out
of reach of HIV (news - web sites) prevention services, which
increase their risk of infection."
The report gives case studies of people who have complained
police brutality toward gay men.
One victim, Mohammed H, 17, said he has been arrested and
times for no reason other than being gay.
"About three months ago," he said, " I was
arrested by police and
taken to a police camp and then from there, to a sugar cane
"Four people raped me. I thought I could not continue and
a fifth person would rape me, so I ran away. I was completely
I had to go to my house by way of the outside of town."
"I was most recently raped by police three or four days
It is thought that Bangladesh is now teetering on the edge of
blown AIDS epidemic, with numbers of infections rapidly
In one region, prevalence among drug users jumped from 1.7
2001 to 4 percent in 2002, while widespread infections in the
country's neighbor India suggest that Bangladesh could find
a similar situation in the coming years, HRW said.
The agency is now lobbying the country's government, calling
reform of its police force.
"The reforms that can stop the attacks on people
vulnerable to AIDS
and help stave off an epidemic are the same reforms the
to resolve its crisis of law and order," Maru said.