A Health and Human Rights article in this weeks issue of THE LANCET comments on a recent Amnesty International (AI) report on the torture and ill-treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Simon Lewin from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and Ilan Meyer from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, New York, USA, discuss how the AI report implicates health professionals not only as passive bystanders, but also as active perpetrators of abuses citing, for example, the use by the military of apartheid South Africa of discredited therapies aimed at "repairing" homosexual orientation.
Simon Lewin comments: "Efforts by human-rights organisations and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide are leading to more powerful demands for access to rights within health care. Health-care providers and organisations of health professionals have a moral and professional responsibility to work in supporting measures to uphold rights and promote the health of this group. As the AI report notes, "If we tolerate the denial of rights to any group, we undermine the whole protective framework of human rights by taking away its central plank-the equal rights and dignity of all human beings."