Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Global Commission on HIV and the Law Report on Risks, Rights & Health

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent body established by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, has published its final report HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health.

The Commission undertook 18 months of extensive research, consultation, analysis and deliberation and heard from individuals and experts in 140 countries. The Commission had 14 members from around the globe, including Canadian Stephen Lewis. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, was its chair.

Among the Commission's recommendations:
  • Repeal punitive laws and enact laws that facilitate and enable effective responses to HIV prevention, care and treatment services for all who need them. Enact no laws that explicitly criminalise HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure of HIV status
  • Work with the guardians of customary and religious law to promote traditions and religious practice that promote rights and acceptance of diversity
  • Decriminalise private and consensual adult sexual behaviours, including same-sex sexual acts and voluntary sex work
  • Prosecute the perpetrators of sexual violence, including marital rape and rape related to conflict, whether perpetrated against females, males, or transgender people
  • Abolish all mandatory HIV-related registration, testing, and forced treatment regimens. Facilitate access to sexual and reproductive health services and stop forced abortion and coerced sterilisation of HIV-positive women and girls
  • Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to effective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence
  • In matters relating to HIV and the law, offer the same standard of protection to migrants, visitors and residents who are not citizens as is extended to citizens. Restrictions that prohibit people living with HIV from entering a country and/or regulations that mandate HIV tests for foreigners within a country should be repealed
  • Develop an effective IP regime for pharmaceutical products. Such a regime must be consistent with international human rights law and public health needs, while safeguarding the justifiable rights of inventors

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:56 pm

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeremy Maddock said...

The individuals who drafted this report are obviously concerned about the rights and dignity of people suffering from HIV, as they well should be. However, that is not an excuse to make recommendations which virtually ensure that HIV will be perpetuated.

For example: "Enact no laws that explicitly criminalise HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure of HIV status."

This is like saying that we can't have a drunk driving law because we're concerned about offending the sensibilities of chronic alcoholics who choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Impaired driving probably kills someone once for every 1,000 people who get behind the wheel drunk. For HIV transmission, the odds are more like one in five. Those who needlessly expose others to serious physical risk should bear the consequences, including criminal sanctions in some circumstances.

Furthermore: "Work with the guardians of customary and religious law to promote traditions and religious practice that promote rights and acceptance of diversity." and "Decriminalise private and consensual adult sexual behaviours, including same-sex sexual acts and voluntary sex work."

These two recommendations (in tandem) sound like a recipe for propaganda against the reality that certain sexual practices really do increase the risk of HIV. UN bureaucrats need to realize that religious groups which promote monogamy are not the enemy in the struggle against HIV, but probably the only thing standing between many African countries and full-on epidemic.

Finally: "Restrictions that prohibit people living with HIV from entering a country and/or regulations that mandate HIV tests for foreigners within a country should be repealed."

This might be all very well along the border between Canada and the U.S., but if one were living right across the border from Zimbabwe or Botswana, the circumstances might be different. In cases of impending epidemic, closing the borders to those who are infected is a legitimate policy option.

All in all, I'm sure the UN report is well-intentioned, but it seems to be driven by left-wing ideology rather than any sincere desire to tackle the Aids crisis in the developing world.

Jeremy Maddock
Civil Forfeiture.ca

11:01 pm  

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