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AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit: News

Clinical Group on Access to Medicine in Africa

The following LLM students participated in the HIV Clinical Group, with a focus on the Access to medicines and Human Rights in Africa Initiative. The clinical groups form part of the coursework for the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. This LLM degree is presented by the Centre for Human Rights based at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.

  • Mr Aquinaldo Mandlate - Mozambique
  • Ms Ngcimezile Mbano - Malawi
  • Mr Samuel Tilahun Tessema - Ethiopia
  • Mr Mohammed Farah Hirsi - Somaliland
  • Mr Vicotr Jere - Malawi

HIV Clinic Group Work Product:

Access to Medicines in Africa: Exploring the Potential Role of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Reading List on Access to Medicines and Human Rights in Africa
Obtaining and the Benefits of Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Survey - Access to Medicine in Africa

African Commission adopts resolution on access to medicines in Africa

The 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Abuja, Nigeria has adopted the Resolution on the Right to Health and Access to Needed Medicines in Africa as resolution ACHPR/RES. 141 (XXXXIIII). 08

The resolution has been influenced strongly by a draft proposal presented to and adopted by the NGO Forum preceding the Commission’s session. The draft resolution formed part of a clinical advocacy project on access to medicines in Africa conducted by the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit (a collaborative project of the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria, South Africa), the Programme on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the International Human Rights Clinic of the Washington College of Law (American University in Washington, USA). The clinical advocacy project was composed of two students from the Centre for Human Rights’ LLM programme in Human and Democratisation in Africa and two students from the International Human Rights Clinic of the Washington College of Law.

Resolution on the Right to Health and Access to Needed Medicines in Africa

See also: http://www.achpr.org/english/resolutions/resolution141_en.htm

NGO forum adopts resolution on access to medicines in Africa

The NGO Forum preceding the 44 Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Abuja, Nigeria adopted on 9 November 2008 a Resolution on the Right to Health and Access to Needed Medicines in Africa.

The resolution was presented to the NGO as part of a clinical advocacy project on access to medicines in Africa conducted by the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit (a collaborative project of the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria, South Africa), the Programme on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the International Human Rights Clinic of the Washington College of Law (American University in Washington, USA). The clinical advocacy project was composed of two students from the Centre for Human Rights’ LLM programme in Human and Democratisation in Africa and two students from the International Human Rights Clinic of the Washington College of Law.

44th Ordinary Session  :: Members of the clinical advocacy project

Following its adoption by the NGO Forum, the Resolution on the Right to Health and Access to Needed Medicines in Africa was presented to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for adoption. Although the African Commission failed to adopt the resolution, a strong awareness raising campaign was organised in support of the recognition of access to medicines as a fundamental element of the right to health within the scope of article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as illustrated by the Statement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on access to medicines.

Resolution on the Right to Health and Access to Needed Medicines in Africa
Statement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on access to medicines

SADC Parliamentary Forum adopts Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa

On 24 November 2008, the 24th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum – the association of parliaments of SADC countries – adopted a Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa in Arusha, Tanzania. The adoption of the Model Law on HIV comes at a time when several countries in the sub-region have adopted or are in the process of adopting HIV laws. As of November 2008, five countries (Angola, The DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius and Tanzania) had adopted HIV-specific laws while two countries had draft HIV bills (Malawi and Mozambique).

In contrast to most HIV-specific legislation adopted in Southern Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa in general, the Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa rejects coercive measures such as the criminalisation of HIV transmission, compulsory HIV testing for pregnant women and compulsory disclosure of HIV status. Furthermore, the Model Law on HIV encourages States to consider the de-criminalisation of commercial sex work and same sex relationship as specific measures that may advance the response to HIV.

The Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa was drafted through a broad consultative process that brought together HIV experts, organisations of people living with HIV, legal drafters, members of law reform commissions and human rights activists from across Southern Africa and beyond. The AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit, a collaborative project of the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria provided technical assistance for the development of the Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa. Its adoption by the Plenary Assembly of SADC Parliamentary Forum reaffirms the importance of well-informed and human rights-based legislation as a fundamental element of the response to HIV.

The Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa is expected to serve as a yardstick and inspirational document for national parliaments to guide their legislative framework on HIV. It is also likely to be used by civil society activists and people living with HIV as a powerful tool to advocate the respect of human rights in the response to AIDS.

Download a copy of the Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa

Satellite session on: Using the law to shape the response to HIV: The relevance of the SADC PF Model Law on HIV

Over the last five years, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa including in Southern African have adopted HIV-specific legislation. The analysis of these pieces of legislation reveals that in several cases they fail to integrate relevant aspects related to the HIV pandemic or they embrace coercive approaches. In order to provide specific guidance to SADC countries on the complex process of HIV legislation, the SADC Parliamentary Forum, an association of national Parliaments of SADC countries, with the technical assistance of the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit and the involvement of various stakeholders and regional civil society groups, is developing a model law on HIV. The Draft Model Law integrates the protection of human rights as a key element of an effective response to HIV.

The objective of the satellite session is to create awareness about the Draft SADC PF Model Law on HIV at the global level. The session will also provide an opportunity for discussion of the Model Law in order to obtain feedback that could help strengthen the final Model Law. The discussion will be contextualised against the background of other efforts towards the adoption of model legislation on HIV.

Programme: Using the law to shape the response to HIV - The relevance of the SADC PF Model Law on HIV
6 August 2006

SADC PF Model law on HIV: Analysis of issues and processes
Prof Frans Viljoen, Director, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

SADC PF model law on HIV: An overview of its content
Hon. Marjorie Masiye, Member of Parliament, Zambia, Hon. D. Job Sithole, Member of Parliament, South Africa and Hon. Rajendra Kumar, Member of Parliament, Mauritius

Model law: friend or foe?
Mr Richard Pearshouse, Director of Research and Policy, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Towards a Model Law: the role of civil society
Ms Michaela Clayton, Director, AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa

Draft HIV Bill of Mozambique

Comments by the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit to the Draft HIV Bill of Mozambique
Researched and written by Frans Viljoen and Patrick Eba

Civil Society Statement on HIV-related Legislation in Southern Africa

Click here to download the Civil Society Statement on HIV-related Legislation in Southern Africa
Released on 14 July 2008.

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