Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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New UN commission on human rights is good news


Senegal, a particpant holds up the words stop a la stigma during a workshop for men who have sex with men © Nell Freeman for the Alliance

The Alliance has welcomed a new commission launched by UNDP with the support of UNAIDS, which aims to increase understanding of the impact of the legal environment on national HIV responses.

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law brings together public leaders from many walks of life and regions, including Alliance Trustee-elect Mr. JVR Prasada Rao, presently Special Advisor to the Executive Director, UNAIDS for the Asia-Pacific region and former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Government of India.

Commissioners will gather and share evidence about the extent of the impact of law and law enforcement on the lives of people living with HIV and those most vulnerable to HIV and will make recommendations on how the law can better support universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Christine Stegling, Senior  Advisor on Human Rights at the Alliance, said: ‘The law is a critical part of any HIV response.  It can help determine whether people living with or affected by HIV can access services, protect themselves from HIV, and live fulfilling lives grounded in human dignity.

‘Sadly in many countries in which the Alliance works there remain negative legal frameworks which undermine HIV programmes and punish, rather than protect, people in need.

The Commission will feature regional hearings, an innovation, which will provide a space in which those most directly affected by HIV-related laws can share their experiences with policy makers.

‘We hope that Alliance linking organisations will be able to contribute to these regional hearings, ensuring that community based experiences and suggestions will shape the Commission’s recommendations on law reform’, says Christine Stegling.

Many Alliance members work with population groups who are particularly at high risk of HIV infection.  Laws which criminalize men who have sex with men, transgender people, drug-users, and/or sex workers can make it difficult to provide essential HIV prevention or treatment services.  These issues will feature in a new Alliance prevention campaign to be launched later this year.

For more information on the Commission, see here.

    negative legal frameworks undermine HIV programmes and punish people in need