New Legislative Approach Needed to Protect People with HIV/AIDS

Governments have been asked to adopt new standards for local legislation. This has been requested by the Caribbean’s Chief Parliamentary Counsel, PANCAP Coordinating Unit Director, Mrs. Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland. She is currently in Trinidad at a four-day meeting to discuss issues of human rights that impact people living with HIV and AIDS.

The denial of these rights because of discrimination has compelled the regional partnership “to adopt a more inclusive approach to ending discrimination, not just on the basis of HIV status but on wider grounds, including gender, disability and sexual orientation,” she said.

In this context, “this PANCAP Model Legislation is the best of the interface between public health and human rights.”

In drawing attention to the consensual process of the drafting of the model legislation which the Director said was not always easy, she noted that its development involved some of the best legal minds in the field of Human Rights and Discrimination across the Region.

She called on representatives of the CARICOM States and Associated Members to advance the anti-discrimination agenda in the Region, indicating that the Model Policy is “an aspirational goal.

A snapshot of the HIV related legal environment in the Caribbean as of 2010, indicated:

56% of countries report no legal protection against HIV-related discrimination

75% of countries report laws and regulations that present obstacles to HIV services for vulnerable population groups

69% of countries criminalise same sex activities among consenting adults.

81 % of countries criminalise some aspects of sex work

19% of countries have HIV-related travel restrictions

19% of countries have HIV-specific laws that criminalise HIV transmission (Source: KS111 2010)

PANCAP is a regional partnership established by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2001 to respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean.

 


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