In a side meeting at the recent ICASA conference in Abidjan, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights launched its report, HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Rights-Based Responses. An early version of the report is online here. (to be updated when the final is posted online.)
Led by Commissioner Soyata Maiga, chairperson of the African Commission, the process brought together African human rights experts, civil society groups, and UN and other legal experts to review the extent to which African human rights systems address HIV-related human rights violations.
The process included multiple consultations around the region over several years, with regional human rights groups playing an active role. The final report clearly identifies the needs and rights of people living with HIV and affected populations – women, children, sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, migrants and transgender people. It also raises concerns about traditional practices, intellectual property rights, lack of enforcement of existing laws and commitments, and lack of consideration of HIV by existing laws and mechanisms.
At the same time, the report also shares good practices, including positive court decisions that have helped to change norms, enactment of progressive laws, and positive steps taken by regulatory commissions and in regional declarations to point the way forward to an enabling environment for the regional HIV response.