Today as we mark International Human Rights Day, it is my great pleasure to launch the Regional Dialogue resources of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. These resources provide a rich evidence base on the impact of legal environments on the health and human rights of people living with and affected by HIV.
Our world has lived with HIV for over 30 years and there is much to be learned about the role that law and human rights play in HIV responses. As noted earlier this year in the Economist, the world could end AIDS. Now more than ever, it is time for countries to adopt legal environments which can support effective HIV responses.
From February 2011 to September 2011, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law held seven regional dialogues – in Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, Arab States, Africa, and High Income Countries. Through these regional dialogues, the Commission gathered and generated compelling evidence illustrating how repressive laws, policies and practices, that do not respect human rights, hamper effective HIV responses and how enabling legal environments that promote and protect the human rights can achieve tremendous progress.
Together with my fellow Commissioners, we are finalising the Commission’s report, which we aim to launch in early 2012. Today, on International Human Rights Day 2011, we are making available the evidence generated through the regional dialogues, which has significantly informed our deliberations. We believe that the evidence gathered through these dialogues has a vital role to play in raising awareness on the connections between HIV, human rights and the law, and in fostering dialogue between individuals and governments on innovative ways in which law can effectively contribute to achieving better HIV, health and human rights outcomes.
This year we have seen thousands of ordinary people using social media to claim their rights. The Regional Dialogue resources will contribute to strengthening the foundation for advocacy on HIV-related human rights and laws. We hope that individuals and civil society organisations will use these resources to claim their rights, and also that lawmakers, officials responsible for criminal justice, law enforcement officers, national AIDS programme officials, and donors will use them to inform the development and implementation of effective and humane law and policy.
I am encouraged by the action that has already been catalysed by the Commission’s regional dialogues, and I am confident that the Regional Dialogues resources will prove valuable in equipping individuals, civil society organisations and governments with the evidence and information needed to advance effective HIV responses.
Full access available at link below –