Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HRW Says Proposed Polish Law That Would Ban Discussions on Homosexuality Could Hinder Access to HIV/AIDS Information
Human Rights Watch on Monday in a letter to Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that a law proposed in the country that would ban discussions on homosexuality in schools violates freedom of speech and could deny children access to HIV/AIDS information, London's Guardian reports (Connolly, Guardian, 3/20). The legislation, proposed last week by Deputy Education Minister Miroslaw Orzechowski, would allow teachers to be fired for promoting what it called "homosexual culture." According to the AP/International Herald Tribune, the bill does not define clearly what is meant by homosexual culture but seems to include basic information about HIV/AIDS and lessons promoting tolerance toward men who have sex with men (AP/International Herald Tribune, 3/19). Education Minister Roman Giertych said the aim of the proposed law is to "prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and other deviance." He added, "One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family." President Lech Kaczynski has given his support to the law (Guardian, 3/20). HRW in the letter called on Jaroslaw Kaczynski to stop the legislation, protect the rights of MSM and women who have sex with women in schools, and "disassociate his administration from rhetoric that promotes discrimination and spreads hatred." Scott Long, director of HRW's gay rights program, said, "Polish authorities claim to be protecting families, but in fact they are trying to deny children free speech and lifesaving information on HIV/AIDS." He added, "Schools should be training grounds for tolerance, not bastions of repression and discrimination." The proposed law faces a vote in Parliament, the AP/Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 3/19). The legislation has been fast-tracked and a vote is expected by the end of the month. Giertych has said he hopes a similar ban will be adopted across the European Union (Guardian, 3/20).
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