The report was launched on July 9 in New York at a Global Dialogue on “Bringing the Law Closer to People” hosted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent body of 14 former heads of state and subject experts convened by UNDP on behalf of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), undertook 18 months of extensive research, consultation, analysis and deliberation
The Global Commission based the report on the accounts of more than 1,000 people in 140 countries.
The report describes “an epidemic of bad laws and human rights abuses” that is wasting money, holding back the global response to HIV and AIDS, and ultimately costing lives.
The relevant laws include ones on gender-based violence; criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity, drug use and harm reduction, voluntary sex work, and HIV transmission; and intellectual property rights.
However, the report indicates that good laws based on public health evidence and human rights do exist and the global response could be transformed if they were scaled up.
Commission Chair and former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso stated, “Too many countries waste vital resources by enforcing archaic laws that ignore science and perpetuate stigma.
“Now, more than ever, we have a chance to free future generations from the threat of HIV.
“We cannot allow injustice and intolerance to undercut this progress, especially in these tough economic times.”
At the Global Dialogue, Global Commission member, U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia-Pacific, and Alliance Trustee Prasada Rao discussed the good examples of the production of generic drugs in India, Thailand, and China; harm reduction programs in Malaysia; and sex worker programs in India and in particular Sonagachi in Kolkata.
Christine Stegling, Associate Director of the Best Practice Unit and Senior Adviser on Human Rights at the Alliance said, “This report will be of use to all organisations who work with communities and populations key to the dynamics of HIV transmission.
“Despite the fact that the relationship between HIV and human rights has been understood, human rights abuses continue to fuel AIDS and human rights violations continue to exacerbate the impact of the disease.
“I would encourage civil society organisations to read the report and use its recommendations in their national advocacy efforts.”
Download the press release
Download the report executive summary (also available in French, Spanish, and Russian).
Download the full report (also available in French, Spanish and Russian).
The webcast of the launch event can be viewed here