Despite the support of the Global Fund Board, the delegation of different communities and the NGO implementing block, the Global Fund Partnership Forum will be held in Ethiopia; a country that penalizes gay men and other men who have sex with men.
In accordance with the criminal code of the Republic of Ethiopia: “sexual acts with same-sex persons are punishable with prison of ten years or more”
The delegation of communities and civil society delegations attending the meeting of the Board of the Global Fund have opposed strongly the selection of Ethiopia to be the host of the Global Fund Partnership Forum. Ethiopia is a country that strongly condemns homosexual orientation, which will put at risk the security and integrity of the participants in this forum.
“Holding a Partnership Forum in a country with a legal framework which criminalizes key populations contradicts the basic principles of the Global Fund (…) meetings in countries that actively discriminate and marginalize key populations should not be organized, since that violates their rights and reduces their ability and willingness to access care and support services”, said Rico Gustav, Member of the Board of the Global Fund for affected communities.
On the other hand, Secretariat of the Global Fund recognized that the location of the Forum raised potential safety problems for participants of key populations.
Unfortunately, the meeting could not be moved to a safer place. Much was said in Geneva on how the Global Fund and the Ethiopian Government are working to ensure the safety of participants. However, problems may occur the following days to the event when privileges or immunities to those who attend the aforementioned country could no longer be granted.