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Newsletter - Issue 2, 2014

Dear subscribers,

We are pleased to share with you the second Newsletter Issue for 2014 with updates on key developments concerning issues of HIV and the law in the global HIV response. Below you will find a compilation of recent news articles and stories of implementation of the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law with links to full text on our website.

In case you missed it, on 22 May a joint statement on Uganda’s recently passed HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Act was issued by several prominent individuals who served on the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. The new law criminalizes both intentional and attempted transmission of HIV, subjects pregnant women and their partners to mandatory HIV testing, and in certain criminal cases, allows for disclosure of a person’s HIV status under court order without their consent. The statement notes that in practice such punitive laws have often had the opposite of their intended effect to protect people from HIV, and that most progress achieved in the HIV response “has been founded on laws, policies and practices that are based on scientific evidence and grounded in human rights.”

UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean has reported a number of important achievements in follow up to the regional and national dialogues held in the region. These include: five HIV laws drafted and in process of being submitted to congress in Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Uruguay; a special unit dealing with HIV-related cases created within the Office of the Ombudsman in Costa Rica; elimination of punitive articles in the current HIV law and creation of new anti-discrimination law in Dominican Republic; and new gender identity laws currently in process in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

In a landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court on 15 April, transgender persons have gained official recognition as a third gender, which entitles them to the same Constitutional and legal rights as other citizens. It is hoped the ruling will facilitate much-needed improved access for this key population to health and HIV services.

Another positive development was reported in northern Cyprus, where legislation decriminalizing homosexuality was passed on 27 January. The bill also bans hate speech against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and discrimination in the provision of public services, including health services, based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This month UNDP launched a practical guidebook, entitled "Using Competition Law To Promote Access to Health Technologies", intended for government and civil society in low and middle income country settings. It provides a number of model interpretations of key aspects of competition law, and uses country case studies to examine the successes and challenges experienced in using competition law and policy.

On 24-26 April 2014, UNDP and UNFPA convened a meeting of experts on sex work and the law in New York. Using the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law as a basis, the meeting sought to identify strategies, evidence and arguments to advance complex issues of human rights, health, gender and development pertaining to sex work. The meeting also convened a dialogue with UN agencies and donors to identify opportunities and challenges for advancing sex workers human rights in the context of broader development goals. 

On 26 May 2014, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa convened the Second Africa Forum on HIV and the Law in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The Meeting deliberated over a report presented by UNDP RSC Africa titled “A Report on progress towards achieving law & human rights goals within the African Union (AU) Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012-2015)” and through group discussions, planned the way forward to address human rights crises in the context of HIV in Africa. The same week two other important meetings were held in Nouakchott: AIDS Watch Africa Experts’ Consultative Committee Meeting, 27-28 May; and Meeting of Regional Economic Communities on implementation of the African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012–2015), 29 May.

We also would like to highlight an article and short video on achievements and future plans for scale-up of the Daytop Legal Aid Project, supported by UNDP China, which has succeeded in strengthening access to justice and legal empowerment of people living with HIV and other key populations. 

Finally, the following are some noteworthy recent additions to the e-library: (UNDP, 16 May 2014) Using competition law to promote access to health technologies: A Guidebook for low and middle income countries; (NSWP, 16 May 2014) Global Report: Good Practice in Sex Worker-Led HIV Programming; (OSF, May 2014) License to Be Yourself: Laws and Advocacy for Legal Gender Recognition of Trans People; (OSF, 8 March 2014) Securing Women’s Land and Property Rights: A Critical Step to Address HIV, Violence, and Food Security; (UNITAID, March 2014) The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Implications for Access to Medicines and Public Health; (UNDP, Inter-Parliamentary Union, 18 February 2014) Effective laws to end HIV and AIDS: Next steps for parliaments; (UNDP, February 2014) National Dialogue on HIV and the Law in Honduras: Report and recommendations [Spanish]; (UNDP, February 2014) National Dialogue on HIV and the Law in Guatemala: Report and recommendations [Spanish]; (UNDP, February 2014) National Dialogue on HIV and the Law in Costa Rica: Report and recommendations [Spanish].

Best regards

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Meeting of Regional Economic Communities on implementation of the African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012–2015)

UNDP - 29 May 2014
The Meeting of Regional Economic Communities on implementation of the African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012–2015) was jointly convened by AUC, UNAIDS (Africa Liaison Office) & UNDP RSC (Africa) on 29 May, 2014 at Nouakchott, Mauritania....

AIDS Watch Africa Experts’ Consultative Committee Meeting

UNDP - 28 May 2014
On 27-28 May, 2014, the AU Convened the AIDS Watch Africa Experts' Consultative Committee Meeting in Mauritania which was inaugurated by a Representative of the Minister of Health, Mauritania...

Second Meeting of the Africa Forum on HIV and the Law

UNDP - 26 May 2014 
The Africa Forum on HIV and the Law is a Forum that deliberates over issues of law and human rights in Africa in the context of HIV, and to notice progress on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law in the Continent...

Statement of Members of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law on the Passing of Uganda’s HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Act

Members of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law - 22 May 2014
The HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Act was passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 13 May 2014. We have learned with great dismay that the Act contains punitive provisions including the imposition of lengthy custodial sentences for the intentional transmission of HIV (up to 10 years) and attempted transmission (up to 5 years)...

UNDP highlights the importance of competition in increasing access to health technologies

UNDP - 19 May 2014
New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a new guidebook today encouraging low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to make greater use of competition law and policy to increase access to HIV treatment and other health technologies...

Friendly clinics for sexual diversity | Manuel Irizar

UNDP - 01 May 2014
In recent years, Argentinian society has made significant progress as relates to the full exercise of citizens' rights...

Botswana to address HIV/AIDS legal issues, human rights

UNDP - 30 April 2014
Botswana has embarked on a process aimed at generating evidence to inform the HIV policy and related legal reviews that would address the human rights aspects of the pandemic in a country with the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the world...

Strengthening Access to Justice and Legal Empowerment for People living with HIV and Key Populations: Taking the Daytop Model to scale [China]

UNDP - 30 April 2014
Access to legal-aid services for people living with HIV and most vulnerable populations is central to a more effective response to the HIV epidemic in China...

A daughter's right to property

UNDP - 29 April 2014
Thirteen year-old Barbara Apire lives in Boroboro village, Adekokwok sub-county, in Lira district, Northern Uganda...

Expert Group Meeting on the Implementation of National Reviews and Consultations on Legal and Policy Barriers to Universal Access to HIV Services

UNESCAP - 29 April 2014
The Asia-Pacific High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on Assessment of Progress against Commitments in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals endorsed a regional framework for action, or "ESCAP roadmap to 2015," to support the Asia-Pacific region in the implementation of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and ESCAP resolutions 66/10 and 67/9...

UNDP and UNFPA Meeting of Experts to Reflect on the Recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV & the Law Related to Sex Work

UNDP - 26 April 2014 
UNDP and UNFPA convened a meeting of experts on 24-26 April 2014 in New York to examine strategies to reflect on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law related to sex work...

After the Regional Dialogues on HIV and the Law [English & Spanish]

UNDP - 28 March 2014
The Regional Dialogue on HIV and the Law that was organized in Sao Paulo in 2011 generated genuine interest among participants to the extent that the HIV, Health and Development Cluster received requests from 8 countries to replicate the experience at country level...

Hon. Michael Kirby featured in Intellectual Property Forum issue on proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement

Intellectual Property Forum - 01 March 2014
The Honourable Michael Kirby, who previously served on the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, has been featured in the most recent issue (No. 96, March 2014) of the academic journal, Intellectual Property Forum: Journal of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Society of Australia and New Zealand, which focuses on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement...

Effective laws to end HIV and AIDS: Next steps for parliaments

UNDP - 19 February 2014
UNDP has supported the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) in the development of a resource, "Effective Laws to End HIV and AIDS: Next Steps for Parliaments"....

Statement on the case of Rosemary Namubiru

Members of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law - 19 February 2014
Dear Media Leaders in Uganda: We are writing to you regarding a matter of urgent concern. As you know, Rosemary Namubiru, a Ugandan nurse, is currently on trial for negligence associated with the insertion of an intravenous needle into the arm of a 2-year-old hospital patient...

Transgender visibility: The 'AIDS Tchê' initiative in Brazil | Angela Pires

UNDP - 13 February 2014
The Week of Transgender Visibility recently took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with three days of events and initiatives supported within the AIDS Tchê initiative, part of a UN Integrated Plan designed to support the poorest and most remote areas of the country...


After anti-gay law, new bill threatens fight against HIV in Uganda

Devex - 23 May 2014

Bitter Injustice: Ugandan Nurse Imprisoned

AIDS-free world - 20 May 2014

BRICS Ministers Join Forces For Access To Medicines

Intellectual Property Watch - 20 May 2014

Helen Clark: Statement on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

UNDP - 17 May 2014

NSWP Launches Global and Regional Reports Documenting Good Practice in Sex Worker-Led HIV Programming

NSWP – 16 May 2014

Uganda: Parliament passes ‘deeply flawed’ HIV law, takes ‘giant leap backwards’: urge President Museveni to veto

HIV Justice Network - 14 May 2014

Indian Supreme Court To Reconsider Sodomy Ruling

BuzzFeed - 22 April 2014

Government of Mauritius pledges to working towards removing HIV-related restrictions on stay and residence

UNAIDS - 18 April 2014

Transgenders recognised as third gender [India]

Bar and Bench - 15 April 2014

The Sexual Minority of Africa Should Also Be Heard

The Global Fund - 11 April 2014

Sex trade safer in New Zealand - and legal

The Star Phoenix - 10 April 2014

Anti-gay laws undermine fight against HIV/AIDS in Caribbean – experts

Thomson Reuters Foundation - 09 April 2014

Sex Offenders No More? Iowa Reconsiders Tough Law on HIV Exposure

NBC News - 30 March 2014

Burma's homosexuality law 'undermining HIV and Aids fight'

The Guardian - 21 March 2014

News Release: Botswana Government Ordered to Provide HIV Treatment to Non-Citizen Prisoners

Southern Africa Litigation Centre - 18 March 2014

Congresswomen Lee, Bass, and Holmes Norton, CBC, Anti-LGBT Legislation Worldwide

Congresswoman Lee - 18 March 2014

HIV transmission bill moves through House committee with revised criminal penalties

The Republic - 12 March 2014

UNAIDS Is “Prepared” To Join Lawsuit Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, Top Official Says

BuzzFeed - 12 March 2014

Constitutional Court Petition Launched in Uganda Challenging the Legality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

NSWP - 12 March 2014

Why the World Needs to End Discrimination Now

The Huffington Post - 03 March 2014

Criminalising homosexuality threatens the fight against HIV/AIDS

The Lancet - 01 March 2014

Congresswoman Lee on U.S. Relations with Uganda in Light of Discriminatory LGBT Law

Congresswoman Lee - 28 February 2014

Op-Ed: Canada’s drug policy is in with the wrong crowd

Ottawa Citizen - 25 February 2014

News Release: Major Boost for Free Speech in Zambia as Court Acquits HIV Activist

Southern Africa Litigation Centre - 25 February 2014

Uganda: Law Rolls Back Basic Rights

Human Rights Watch - 24 February 2014

560 NGOs and 94 Researchers Demand Members of European Parliament to Reject Ms Honeyball Report

ICRSE - 18 February 2014

UNAIDS expresses deep concern over impact of Ugandan bill on the rights of gay men

UNAIDS - 18 February 2014

HIV-Positive Nurse Tried by Media

AIDS-free world - 12 February 2014

Discrimination against LGBT people triggers health concerns

The Lancet - 08 February 2014

Press Release: YCSRR Launches New Website!

YCSRR - 31 January 2014

Northern part of Cyprus decriminalises homosexuality

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights - 27 January 2014


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