Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Moving to End unjust HIV Prosecutions
Human rights advocates welcome historic announcement by federal government
The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
December 1, 2018 — Today, on World AIDS Day, federal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould announced a new directive to help limit unjust prosecutions against people living with HIV in Canada. This new directive, which comes after years of advocacy by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and many partner organizations, is consistent with Justice Canada’s own recommendations and a welcome step in the ongoing effort to the end the criminalization of HIV. It is also better aligned with the latest scientific evidence regarding HIV and its transmission.
Last year, the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization (CCRHC), of which we are a founding member, released its Community Consensus Statement, signed by more than 160 organizations Canada-wide. In this statement, we detailed key steps that the federal, provincial and territorial governments must take in order to curb the overly broad use of criminal law against people living with HIV. Yesterday, the CCRHC issued a follow-up statement in which more than 100 organizations called on the federal government to act on its stated concerns about “overcriminalization of HIV” and the conclusions of a Justice Canada report released a year ago. Scientists have also repeatedly called on federal and provincial governments to heed the science and limit prosecutions accordingly.
We are pleased that the government has listened to our collective voice and taken much-needed action today. We congratulate the Attorney General for this welcome and important step.
We note that this directive only governs federal prosecutors, who handle such criminal prosecutions only in Canada’s three territories. We therefore continue to call on provincial Attorneys General to follow the federal government lead and issue similar directives limiting prosecutions against people living with HIV in their jurisdictions. At this time, no province has yet issued clear directives reflecting these limits on the misuse of the criminal law. Unjust prosecutions – and the fear of such prosecution – continue. We also continue to call on the Government of Canada to enact Criminal Code reforms that remove HIV non-disclosure prosecutions entirely from the reach of sexual assault laws.
Richard Elliott, Executive Director Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network 416 898 3313, relliott[at]aidslaw.ca
Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
Launch of the Global Partnership For Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination
December 10, 2018 - From GNP+
The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) in collaboration with UNAIDS, UNDP, UN Women and the UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation is pleased to announce the launch of the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination (Global Partnership).
The launch event took place on 10 December, Human Rights Day, at the UNAIDS Building Foyer in Geneva Switzerland was broadcast live online on the UNAIDS Facebook page.
Across communities and borders, stigma and discrimination continues to be the number one issue identified by people living with HIV as a concern. Stigma remains a major barrier to accessing treatment and care, to adhering to treatment and to living a high quality life. Discrimination places people living with HIV and key populations in danger in their day-to-day lives by destroying families and communities, causing economic hardship and violating basic human rights.
The Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate All Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination aims to catalyze and accelerate implementation of commitments established in the 2016 Political Declaration and made to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination by Member States, UN agencies, bilateral and international donors, NGOs and communities as essential for ending AIDS as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The aim of the work is to maximize the reach and impact of HIV prevention, treatment, testing and treatment programmes in countries by eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination in key settings in the context of urgent efforts to FastTrack the achievement of the 2020 targets. The global partnership’s goal is to reach zero HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
“As we usher in a new year, the HIV community must recommit and redouble our efforts to fighting HIV-related stigma and discrimination, in tandem with addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, gender based violence and other prejudices that fuel the worldwide HIV epidemic”, says Javier Hourcade Bellocq, GNP+ Board Chair. “GNP+ is pleased to be a co-convenor of this critical and ground-breaking Global Partnership that seeks to transform our communities best strategies, tactics and mechanisms for addressing and measuring HIV-related stigma and discrimination into actionable and accountable global targets and goals for Member States.”
All countries and partners committed with the HIV response and human rights principles are encouraged to join the global partnership and use their collective strength to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination. For more information about ways that you can get involved in this important initiative please visit www.gnpplus.net