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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on World AIDS Day


On the occasion of the 27th World AIDS Day, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the 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), joins the rest of the world in commemorating this day.

 

This event which has been celebrated under the same theme since 2011 aims to realize the vision of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths; and it is a unique opportunity to further inform and raise public awareness about the gravity of the AIDS pandemic and the importance of halting the spread of the virus.

 

While recognising the progress made worldwide, the Committee notes with concern that Africa remains the continent that is most affected by HIV/AIDS given that new HIV infections remain high as a result of the lack of adequate healthcare, in particular HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in some parts of Africa.

 

The Committee deplores the fact that this situation is more serious among women and girls as a result of behavioural, cultural, social, economic and gender-related factors which increase women’s vulnerability to the epidemic, in particular female genital mutilation, child marriage and sexual violence especially in conflict areas.

 

The Committee notes that despite sensitisation campaigns, stigma, discrimination, marginalisation of persons living with HIV and gender inequality persist on the continent, and are causes of the spread of the pandemic, as they slow down HIV prevention and treatment efforts since infected persons are forced to hide their status.

 

The Committee calls on all States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to increase funds allocated to the health sector in accordance with the Abuja Declaration, increase the number of medical facilities towards strengthening free HIV counselling, screening and diagnosis, as well as universal access to prevention programmes, effective treatment and support for all persons living with HIV/AIDS.

 

The Committee further urges States Parties to take the necessary measures towards a human rights based response to the pandemic by putting an end to all acts that may prevent the effectiveness of HIV response, including by enacting laws and implementing policies and programmes aimed at achieving greater promotion and protection of the rights of people living with HIV and those at risk, vulnerable to and affected by HIV.

 

The Committee commends and encourages the regular holding of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA), a major continental event which deals with progress, issues, new challenges and innovations in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

 

The year 2016 has been declared by the African Union as “African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. In this regard, the Committee encourages all the stakeholders concerned to renew their commitment, strengthen their programmes and to further empower women and the youth who continue to play a key role in consolidating the progress made in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, including by providing adequate resources.

 

The Committee reiterates its support for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and is committed to work with all stakeholders towards an AIDS-free world.

 

The Committee calls on the international community, UNAIDS and nongovernmental organisations to step up their efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS towards meeting the global strategic goal of eradicating AIDS by 2030.

 

AIDS knows no colour, sex or age, it affects all human beings wherever they may be, and it is our common responsibility to put an end to the pandemic. Together, we can achieve “zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths in Africa” if everyone, without exception, plays their role in civic education for the individual and collective protection against the virus.

 

Honourable Commissioner Soyata Maiga

Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living With HIV (PLHIV) and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

 

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