Final Communiqué on the National Dialogue on the Study: “HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Rights-Based Responses to HIV”, from 17 to 18 December 2018, Kigali, Rwanda.

    1. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) through its Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV (the Committee on HIV) organized a National Dialogue on the Study: “HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Rights-Based Responses to HIV”, from 17 to 18 December 2018, Kigali, Rwanda.
    1. The National Dialogue was attended by 69 participants representing:

    Ø  Committee on HIV, represented by its Chairperson, Honorable Commissioner  Soyata Maiga, and expert members Dr. Agnes Atim Apea,  Mr. Christian Garuka Nsabimana and Mr. Fogue Dzutue, assisted by Ms. Anita Bagona;

    Ø  The National Commission for Human Rights of Rwanda (NCHR);

    Ø  The Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC);

    Ø  The UN Agencies (UNAIDS and UNFPA);

    Ø  The civil society organizations based in Rwanda;

    Ø   International Organizations;

    Ø  People living with HIV, key populations; and

    Ø  The media.

    1. Speeches of the opening ceremony were delivered by the Chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights of Rwanda, Ms. Madeleine Nirere, the Chairperson of the African Commission and Chairperson of the Committee on HIV, Honorable Commissioner Soyata Maiga and Mr. Muhammed Semakula, representing the Rwanda Biomedical Center.
    1. The National Dialogue was aimed at launching, popularizing and widely disseminating the African Commission’s Study on HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Rights-Based Responses to HIV of the African Commission; engaging with relevant stakeholders particularly state and non-state entities on the findings of the Study; and finding a common ground and deliberate on ways, means and mechanisms for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Study.
    1. Several themes were extensively discussed, including:

    -          The main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Study;

    -          The perspectives of the Government, the National Commission for Human Rights, the Civil Society Organizations and the Community of People living with HIV on the promotion and the protection of the rights of People Living with HIV and those at Risk, Vulnerable to and affected by HIV in Rwanda; and

    -          The Issue of new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa. 

    1. Presentations were followed by constructive dialogues on the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Study.
    1. Working groups were formed to brainstorm on the expansion of the recommendations and elaborated on ways, means and mechanisms for the implementation of the recommendations of the Study in the Republic of Rwanda.
    1. The following recommendations were made at the conclusion of the National Dialogue:

    To the Government of Rwanda:

    ·         Fast track the training of the health workforce on human rights and medical ethics related to HIV;

    ·         Conduct a legal environment assessment to consider the adoption of an HIV/AIDS specific  law in Rwanda;

    ·         Raise awareness on the HIV Human rights and laws;

    ·         remove the limitation and barriers for children aged 12 and above to access HIV prevention and treatment as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights services;

    ·         fast track the implementation of the available programs to reduce stigma and discrimination among young people living with HIV/AIDS;

    ·         strengthen the implementation of law and policies in place to prevent any form of violence against PLHIV and key populations;

    ·         Remove social and other barriers that limit the rights of women, children and young people to access services including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services or those that make them more vulnerable to HIV;

    ·         Take the necessary measures to increase the resources allocation to the health sector in general and for HIV services;

    ·         Continue to engage civil society and non-state actors in planning, implementing and monitoring the health and HIV programs.

    To the Civil Society and Community of People living with HIV and those at risk:

    ·         Continue to engage national, regional and UN human rights mechanisms for the promotion and the protection of human rights in the context of HIV;

    ·         Empower communities including PLHIV, key populations, young people, women and girls, and other vulnerable to know and claim their rights;

    ·         Generate evidences and advocate for an enabling environment to access stigma and discrimination free services;

    ·         Monitor the implementation of policies and laws related to human rights in the context of HIV;

    ·         Develop innovative approaches to engage the general public, all branches of government and other opinion leaders (including the media) on the critical human rights issues relating to the HIV epidemic;

    ·         Advocate for increase resources both at the national and international levels.

    To religious leaders:

    ·         Engage a dialogue with people living with HIV and members of key populations;

    ·         Avoid the use of hatred speeches against people living with HIV and members of key populations.

    To the Media :

    ·         Maintain and strengthen dialogue with people living with HIV and members of key populations;

    ·         Refrain from inciting hatred against people living with HIV and members of key populations and promote responsible reporting that advances rights based and evidence informed responses to HIV

    9.     The Rwanda National Human Rights Commission will be responsible for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of these recommendations.

    Done on 18th December 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda

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