Newsletter - Issue 3, 2013

Dear subscribers,

Welcome to our latest newsletter issue covering a number of important updates from around the world on implementation of the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (GCHL). Of particular note, is a new addition to the GCHL website – the Africa Follow Up section. This section of the website will serve as a dedicated space for a newly launched 3-year project supported by UNDP and the governments of Sweden and Norway aimed at strengthening national and regional legal environments regarding access to HIV, health and social services in more than 15 African countries. Within the space you can keep up with the various activities of the project, including through regular short Follow Up Activities articles, an events calendar, and a Blog which will feature contributions directly from colleagues and partners in the field.

Since the last newsletter issue several significant activities have taken place. On 28-29 June in Malawi, the first meeting was held of the 'UNAIDS and Lancet Commission - Defeating AIDS, Advancing Global Health'. The meeting report, published on 11 September, notes delegates called on the Commission to "Build on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law—including in relation to dismantling punitive laws.” At the Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Abuja+12) in July, UNDP and the African Union with support from the governments of Norway and Sweden jointly convened a side event 'Strengthening Legal Environments for HIV' on the situation of HIV and the law and the status of implementation of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law recommendations in Africa. Also in July, UNDP partnered with KELIN to organize a regional workshop to build capacity of law enforcement officers from six African countries on protecting rights of people living with HIV. UNDP Brazil has announced plans for a series of Dialogues on HIV and the Law, with the first already held on 27 August in the city of Curitiba in southern Brazil. On 4-5 September, UNDP and UNAIDS jointly convened a high level meeting with some 30 experts, including former Commissioners and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, in New York to discuss ways to advance the intellectual property recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law report. Senior UNDP policy advisors recently undertook a mission to Jamaica where they engaged with Parliamentarians on implementation of the recommendations of the GCHL. This week UNDP Thailand has released a short film documenting the successes of an innovative anti-stigma and discrimination learning programme with the Royal Thai Police. 

We would also like to highlight a couple of upcoming items. The synthesis report of the UNDP e-discussion on implementing the recommendations of the Commission is due out later this month. We hoped you found our cross-posting of the discussion interesting and useful. If you are a new subscriber, we encourage you to review the extensive collection of important updates and insights from around world which were shared during the July online discussion. In October the Indonesia National Consultation on HIV and the Law is set to be held in Jakarta and a Regional Judges Dialogue on HIV, human rights and the law is being jointly organized by UNDP, KELIN Kenya and the Judicial Training Institute of Kenya on 28-31 October. And finally, the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific will take place this year in Bangkok, Thailand from 18-22 November with the theme ‘Asia/Pacific Reaching Triple Zero: Investing in Innovation’. We will be sharing relevant updates from the conference.

Best regards

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From Despair to Hope: A UNDP Film

1 October 2013 - UNDP Thailand has released a new documentary which tells the story of Apiwat, a man living with HIV. Read more

Mission by Senior UNDP Policy Advisors to Jamaica Yields Positive Engagement from Parliamentarians on Implementation of Recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law

1 October 2013 - Senior UNDP policy advisors on Parliamentary Development and HIV, Health and Development, including Charles Chauvel, former Commissioner of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, recently completed a joint mission to Jamaica as part of follow up work on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Read more

Police as agents of change – an innovative learning programme on HIV and human rights in the context of law enforcement in Thailand

25 September 2013 - Recognizing the critical role of law enforcement agencies in the HIV response, UNDP Thailand is scaling up an innovative learning programme in partnership with the Royal Thai Police. Read more

UNDP Brazil launching series of dialogues on HIV and the law

23 September 2013 - UNDP Brazil is launching a series of Dialogues on HIV and the Law. The first event took place on 27 August 2013 in Curitiba, South of Brazil. Read more

HIV and the law: Protecting the rights of people living with HIV in Ukraine

19 September 2013 - Knowledge is power for those living with HIV. Having the right information enables people affected by HIV to prevent human rights violations, and seek redress if their rights have already been violated. Read more

Experts meet on advancing access to HIV treatment

5 September 2013 - Experts this week called for new measures to get costly, life-saving HIV drugs to some 16 million people in developing countries who need them, following calls by a high-level Commission to make them more affordable in poor countries. Read more

Kilifi county officials to discuss HIV issues with injecting drug users, sex workers

AFRICA FOLLOW UP | 30 August 2013 - Representatives of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), male and female sex workers will discuss with members of the County Executive Committee, County Assembly, law enforcers, judicial officials and other stakeholders, the laws and policies that contribute to the rise of new HIV infections in Kilifi County today, 30th August 2013. Read more

A chat about the rights of people living with HIV

29 August 2013 - I had the privilege of talking to Anna Kryukova after a training in Kyiv, Ukraine organized by UNDP and its partners (ITPC-ru, AGORA and ECUO) on legal awareness for people living with and affected by HIV. Read more

Creating enabling legal environments: Conducting national reviews and multi-sector consultations on legal and policy barriers to HIV services 

29 August 2013 - Creating Enabling Legal Environments: Conducting National Reviews and Multi-Sector Consultations on Legal and Policy Barriers to HIV Services aims to support country stakeholders including governments, Joint UN Teams on AIDS, civil society partners and others to undertake a review of national laws... Read more

Law enforcers from six countries commit to protect rights of people living with HIV

AFRICA FOLLOW UP | 23 July 2013 - Forty-three law enforcement officers from Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania & Zambia participated in a regional capacity building workshop on HIV and the law from the 17th -19th July 2013 in Nairobi. Read more

12-16 July 2013 - Abuja+12: African Leaders Renew Their Commitments to Eradicate HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the Continent

AFRICA FOLLOW UP | 16 July 2013 - “Ending HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria is not going to be easy, not going to be quick, and not going to be cheap. It is a huge investment that is absolutely guaranteed to bring enormous returns” – with these words Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission opened the African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - Abuja +12. Read more

Using laws to help tackle HIV/AIDS resonates widely | Helen Clark

9 July 2013 - Laws which safeguard dignity, health and justice are essential to effective HIV responses. This was one of the main messages of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent panel of eminent legal, political and public health experts convened by UNDP on behalf of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. Read more

News & Recent Developments

Avahan Aids initiative may have prevented 600,000 HIV infections in India

30 September 2013 - A programme in India may have saved around 600,000 people from becoming infected with HIV over the course of a decade, according to a new report. Read more

Stakeholder’s resolve to review the definition of “counterfeiting” in the Kenyan law; an opportunity to ultimately ensure access to medicines

27 September 2013 - In a promising turn of events, the Kenya Anti counterfeit Agency (ACA) has agreed to review the term “counterfeiting” as defined in the controversial Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008. Read more

Civil society cautions SADC leaders against mandatory HIV testing

13 September 2013 - The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), a partnership of 73 non-governmental organizations working in southern and east Africa, has noted with concern reports that several SADC leaders lauded mandatory HIV testing as a viable strategy to curb the spread of HIV during a meeting of Heads of State and Government on AIDS Watch Africa, held on 17 August on the sidelines of the 33rd SADC summit in Lilongwe, Malawi. Read more

Experts agree: Overly broad HIV criminalisation is doing more harm than good

10 September 2013 - The HIV Justice Network has today released a new documentary, More HARM Than GOOD: How overly broad HIV criminalisation is hurting public health which had its world premiere at the US Conference on AIDS in New Orleans on September 10th. Read more

New Resource: Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization - A Manual for Advocates

3 September 2013 - This is How We Win: A Toolkit for Community Advocates, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A Manual for Advocates, Volume 3, The Center for HIV Law and Policy (2013). Read more

Caribbean sex workers coalition calls for an end to discrimination against sex workers; urges transgender recognition

2 September 2013 - The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC), a regional collective of sex worker-led civil society organisations and sex worker advocates, is calling on Caribbean states to end discrimination against sex workers, recognise transgender people and create laws to protect sex workers from stigma and discrimination. Read more

IDPC Briefing Paper - HIV prevention among people who use drugs in East Africa

29 August 2013 - There is a well-developed drug market across Sub-Saharan Africa  which, as in other parts of the world, is associated with increased criminal activities and corruption, as well as drug use, dependence and related health problems. Read more

Court Allows Groundbreaking Case Against Anti-Gay Religious Leader to Proceed

14 August 2013 - Today, in a first-of-its kind case brought by a Ugandan LGBTI advocacy organization against a prominent U.S. anti-gay extremist, a federal judge ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. Read more

A brutal murder recalls need for laws that protect LGBTI people

13 August 2013 - Despite the remarkable progress achieved by HIV prevention and treatment responses, the brutal murder of a prominent AIDS activist in Cameroon serves as a stark reminder of the work that still lies ahead. Read more

US: House appropriations committee passes amendment that would fund review of HIV-specific criminal laws

19 July 2013 - The United States is closer than ever before in ensuring that their HIV-specific laws are reviewed and amended in order to be consistent with current medical and scientific knowledge. Read more


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