Project Description

Whats inside:
Special report:
A rigorous gender
analysis
Feedback from
the Global
Village…
Stand up, sing and
dance
News from the
‘margins’…
Images and views
Women’s
realities…
Women won’t wait
Law Reflections…
A tool for change
In our opinion…
What Africa can
teach Europe?
In Focus…
False dichotomies and cost cutting
in HIV and Human Rights
Monday’s plenary, which
included Vuyiseka
Dubula from the Treatment
Action Campaign and Anya
Sarang from the Andrey
Rylkov Foundation for Health
and Social Justice was capped
with a keynote address
by former US President
William ‘Bill´ Clinton, who
addressed the convention as
a representative and founder
of the Clinton Foundation, a
US-based donor organisation.
By highlighting progress in
South Africa towards treatment
access, in the dignity and
rights of people affected and
infected by HIV, as well as
the intersections between HIV
policy and the ‘war on drugs’,
the session also highlighted
the frustrating ‘two steps
forward, one step back’ nature
of progress when it comes to
gains made in addressing HIV,
while protecting universal
human rights to health, dignity and
justice.
While much has been achieved
recently, the threat posed to existing
programmes by global budget cuts
is cause for serious concern as
encouraging trends may be in danger
of being reversed. Bill Clinton’s
proposed solution to the impasse
is an emphasis on cost-cutting,
efficiency, and localness; three
concepts which evoke the vogue for
´social entrepreneurship´ during
Clinton’s presidency, a theory which
encourage the adoption of popular
business management models in
the provision of health, education
and other social services. In calling
for such an approach, while lauding
the achievements in South Africa,
Clinton quoted Churchill
to describe the state of the
response to HIV saying ‘…
this is not the end. It is not
even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of
the beginning’.
Clinton’s appearance
overall lent itself to reflection
on not just the last five years
of progress and obstacles,
but a somewhat longer view
dating back to his presidency.
Clinton himself pointed to
progress since the 1990´s,
and to changed attitudes
on the part of major drug
companies, such as Pfizer´s
‘new direction’. According
to Clinton, the company
once among those notorious
for pitting their profits and
intellectual property rights
against the needs of people
living with HIV who could not
afford drugs, and the health
ministries of low income
nations, has now ‘seen the light’, and
is supplying new, more effective and
less toxic tuberculosis drugs at 60%
reduction of cost. Clinton argued that
the company’s rationale is that they
can no longer ´make a profit´ off of a
tiny portion of the ´market’ of people
living with HIV; instead they zoom
to reach 100% market saturation.
He also praised the recent lifting
Mujeres Adelante Tuesday • 20 July 2010
Daily newsletter on women’s rights and HIV – Vienna 2010
Kate Griffiths
2 Tuesday • 20 July 2010 One of Monday’s sessions in the LGBT Networking Zone –
Focus Africa: Advocacy for human rights –focussed on advocacy
and human rights in African countries, with specific reference
to advocacy and organising around the Anti-homosexual Bill
in Uganda. This Bill was introduced by a private Member of
Parliament in October 2009, but not tabled and has been shelved
at present.
However, ongoing concerns are that the publicity surrounding
this Bill calls, amongst other things, for the death penalty. While
the introduction of this anti-homosexuality legislation has led
to increased visibility and vulnerability for members of the LGBT
community in Uganda, there is also, as mentioned by a participant
from Kenya, a potential ‘knock on effect’ that could be seen in other
countries in Africa moving in the same direction.
David Okan from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in Uganda
spoke about advocacy strategies for engaging with law reform
processes and how efforts were being directed at ensuring that
those affected are engaged in the process of law review and
reform. The speaker noted that there had been international
pressure on the Ugandan government by organisations and major
donors to scrap the proposed Bill and to address the existing
sodomy laws. Though the government has put the Bill on hold,
fears are that the pressure is largely financial and should, for
example, the recent oil discovery in Uganda place the government
in a financially securer position, this Bill could be revived for
discussion at a parliamentary level.
The impact of this Bill has been to further silence the LGBT
community, people have gone further underground, and this has
a further impact on accessing services, including HIV prevention,
treatment and care. The police are reported to be taking
advantage of the situation, with cases of blackmail, extortion and
incarceration being reported.
Mmapaseka ‘Steve’ Letsike from OUT LGBT Well-being, South
Africa, gave a broad overview of the human rights landscape
in Africa, where 38 out of 54 countries continue to criminalise
homosexuality. Advocacy strategies to decriminalise are centred
on a broad based rights approach. The LGBT community is calling
for human rights and protections afforded to all. ‘We don’t want
any special rights’, said a participant during the discussion, ‘we are
advocating for respect as human beings’.
Another participant noted that advocacy efforts need to
engage with communities on the ground, to positively engage
with religious and cultural leaders around, for example, concepts of
love and respect, to find common ground to raise awareness
and support.
It was also noted that the proposed Anti-homosexuality
Bill in Uganda had broken the silence around lesbian,
bisexual, transgender and gay rights, and that the advocacy
for decriminalisation in Uganda was part of a growing global
campaign for decriminalisation.
Jayne is with the AIDS Legal Network, South Africa.
A potential ‘knock on effect’… Jayne Arnott
of a federal ban on funding of needle
exchange programmes in the United States,
one that he did not support lifting while he
was President, joking that ´now I can say
what I really think´.
To Clinton, the opposition between the
´war on drugs´ and effective prevention
for injection drug users (IDU) was one of
a series of ´false dichotomies´ that have
plagued the field of HIV policy and have
characterised our history. First, he argued,
debates and funding priorities which pitted
prevention against treatment now seem
ridiculous, as studies demonstrate that
treatment itself may be the most effective
form of prevention at a population level.
Now, he argues, efforts to strengthen global
health systems and maternal health have
been falsely pitted against HIV funding –
an opposition which ignores the synergy
between maternal health and effective HIV
treatment.
Defending the Obama administration
against accusations of `broken promises´
Clinton argued that the economic crisis
explains the budget cuts and that restoration of HIV funding would
still be still possible with concerted lobbying efforts. At the same time,
he argues that we have a moral responsibility to increase efficiency
in delivery efforts. Toward that end, he called for funders to end an
emergency style response to the crisis which relied on established
organisations with expensive US-based apparatus, and for greater
direct funding to foreign governments and local organisations that
can, he believes, provide more service at lower cost.
In addition, Clinton argued for lowering delivery costs by
simultaneously increasing the number of qualified healthcare workers,
particularly in Africa, deskilling healthcare work, and lowering costs
by encouraging task-shifting from doctors to nurses and from nurses
to community healthcare workers, wherever possible. Echoing last
nights plenary Clinton also called for fewer ´money for meetings,
money for planes to get to meetings’; and complained that donors fund
´too many reports that sit on shelves’.
But this easy and rousing take on the fundamental lack of conflict
between funding priorities, or between health, human rights and other
policies, such as the 1990´s ´war on drugs´ or today’s budget austerity,
may be overly hopeful and is belied by Clinton’s own history as a
president, if not his new, freer, stance as a leading foundation funder
with newfound faith in social science.
Kate is a writer and ethnographer
based in Durban, South Africa.
…a moral
responsibility
to increase
efficiency in
delivery efforts…
…provide more
service at lower
cost…
Tuesday • 20 July 2010 3
Stand up, Sing, Dance and March for Your Rights…
Join us this evening when up to 10,000 people
will be marching through Vienna’s centre to
highlight the importance of human rights in
the HIV response. The march will make its way
peacefully – but (we hope) noisily – through the
city of Vienna from Schottentor to Heldenplatz, in
front of the Imperial Palace, for a rally at which
singer/songwriter, HIV activist and UN Goodwill
Ambassador Annie Lennox will be speaking and
performing.
The Women’s Networking Zone and Women ARISE!
will be marching together to form a visible contingent
of women to ensure that women’s rights issues are
brought to the fore. We will be marching for the right of all
women to access a full range of sexual and reproductive
information and health services, regardless of their age,
HIV status, (dis)ability, sexual orientations or identities; for
all women, including women who use injecting drugs and
women in prison, to have access to appropriate and nonjudgemental
prevention information, healthcare and harm
reduction services; for all women, including sex workers,
to have full employment rights and to enjoy freedom from
violence and fear of violence; and, for all women to have
access to affordable, confidential, sustainable healthcare.
Women will be gathering in the Women’s Networking
Zone at the Global Village space 811 to leave for the march
together at 18.30 this evening. We will be marching under
the banner of our Visible Panty Line and the words that
unite us:
All Women, All Rights!
Women Together – stand up for our rights!
and views…
Images…
4 Tuesday • 20 July 2010 The Women Won’t Wait Campaign
will release the report at a time when
women’s rights organisations and
movements remain underfunded.
According to UNAIDS estimates
in 2008, over the last 10 years, the
proportion of women among people
living with HIV has remained stable
globally. However, it has increased
in many regions and three-quarters
of young people living with HIV on
the continent are women aged 15-
24. We are at a juncture where any
reduction in donor aid, or departure
in focus away from gender equality,
could hinder the progress we have
made to date and leave women living
with HIV or who remain vulnerable
to infection, neglected in the fight for
women’s empowerment.
While noting the significant
progress some agencies have made in
tackling violence against women as
part of their HIV portfolios, it remains
unclear how policy documents,
action plans, and operational plans
will be implemented in countries. We
ask – what’s the budget, where’s the
staff – as a means to hold donors and
multilateral agencies accountable to
their policy rhetoric. And we ask all
activists to ask the same question,
because unless those in power allocate
resources, human and financial, they
won’t deliver on their promises.
Ramona is with Action Aid and a
member of the Women Won’t Wait
campaign. For more information on
the report, go to
www.womenwontwait.org
The Women Won’t Wait
campaign’s new report calls
for substantial, predictable,
and sustained funding and
staff with the necessary
gender expertise to
operationalise policies at the
country level and guarantee
integrated healthcare to
better fulfil the rights of all
women and girls.
July 2010, the Women Won’t Wait:
End HIV and violence against
women and girls. Now Campaign
will launch What’s the Budget?
Where’s the Staff?: Moving from
Policy to Practice, the third in a
series of reports calling for increased
recognition of the bidirectional
relationship between violence against
women and girls and HIV and AIDS
across policies, programmes and
funding streams. Our three-report
series has monitored the work of
five major public institutions in the
context of HIV and AIDS: the two
largest multilateral donors, the Global
Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and
the World Bank, and the two largest
bilateral donors, PEPFAR and DFID,
as well as the UN’s global agendasetting
agency on HIV and AIDS,
UNAIDS.
In our first report launched
in 2007 – Show Us the Money:
Is violence against women on the
HIV&AIDS funding agenda? – we
noted a dangerous and dysfunctional
divide in the policies and practices
of these five institutions in response
to the two epidemics. In addition,
we reported that while there was
policy recognition that violence
against women had an impact on
women’s and girls’ vulnerability
to HIV, this was not translated
into resourced programmes that
responded to violence against women
as a key driver of the epidemic or its
consequence. In 2008, What gets
measures matters demonstrated
varying levels of attention given by
the five institutions to violence, as
a cause and consequence of HIV,
with the Global Fund and UNAIDS
in particular taking great strides to
engage in a more gender-sensitive
response to the two epidemics, and
UNAIDS, specifically, to confront
violence against women as a key
driver of the epidemic.
In What’s the budget? Where’s the
staff?, we monitor the progress that
these agencies have made in the last
year and present an incisive critique
of the policies, practices and funding
priorities of the five institutions.
We started this donor monitoring
process at a time when none of the
institutions explicitly tracked their
investments in programmes and
projects addressing violence against
women as a component of their HIV
and AIDS efforts. Our latest report
evidences how a lack of indicators
for civil society monitoring remains
a significant hurdle for CSOs and
citizens seeking greater accountability
for how donor funds are spent.
…neglected in the
fight for women’s
empowerment…
…unless those
in power allocate
resources, human
and financial, they
won’t deliver on
their promises…
Women’s Realities…
What’s the Budget? Where’s the Staff?
Moving from Policy to Practice
Ramona Vijeyarasa
A tool for change…
The session Using the law for as a
tool for change on Monday brought
together a panel of activists, lawyers and
activists lawyers to share and compare
successful legal strategies for protecting
the health and human rights of people
living with HIV.
Two panellists, Linda Dumba and Priti
Patel, hailed from Southern African nations
and described legal challenges to state
discrimination against people living with
HIV as coercion and violations of dignity
and privacy. In the first case, two Zambian
men brought a complaint against the
Zambian Air force, their former employer,
for discrimination and violating their right
to privacy. While working in administrative
positions, the men were called in for
physical examinations, which included
blood samples, which were then tested,
without their consent or knowledge. When
the testes proved to be positive, the air
force then provided ART for the men, but
without informing them of their diagnosis
nor of the nature of their treatment; a
lifelong commitment. Eventually the two
men were fired, they believed, because of
their HIV status.
Their legal team took an unusually
active and public approach to their High
Court case in a three pronged strategy
which targeted the judge in the case, the
legal community and the public via the
media. Supporters wore messaged t-shirts
and demonstrated outside the court,
while the legal team educated the legal
community on positive people’s rights,
appealing to the judge’s background as
a human rights advocate. Ultimately, the
case resulted in an affirmation that the
men’s rights to privacy were violated by
the coercive testing and treatment they
experienced.
In similar, but unfinished campaign
now ongoing in Namibia, strategic
litigation is being pursued to defend the
rights of women living with HIV against
forced and coercive sterilisation. In many
cases women are asked to consent to
sterilisation on the way to the operating
theatre, or in exchange for receiving
treatment. The Legal Assistance Centre
has brought cases on behalf of 16 women,
with three cases moving already through
the courts. These advocates are facing
funding challenges, as well as limited
support from the medical community, as
many doctors are simply convinced that
women with HIV should not have children,
and are either uninformed or unconcerned
about Namibian women’s constitutional
rights to found a family and to privacy.
In Yunnan, China, Dxx Zhou has
successfully defended the rights of an HIV
positive client to access life coverage to
insure against accidental death. The case
is a significant one in a region in which
China’s most
severe epidemic,
including a
generalised
pattern in some
major cities.
The plaintiff
requested a 10
yuan note as
compensation,
because the
note’s common
name means
´all the people
united´.
It is hoped
that these
successful legal
strategies can establish legal precedents
that will protect the rights and the health
of people living with HIV in countries
across the globe.
Kate is a writer and ethnographer based in
Durban, South Africa.
Tuesday • 20 July 2010 5
Kate Griffiths
…It is hoped that
these successful
legal strategies
can establish legal
precedents…
Tuesday, 20 July
8:30–9:30 Gender, Sexualities and HIV/AIDS
in Latin America Women’s Networking Zone
09:00–10:30 Plenary Session Session Room 1
9:30–10:45 HIV and Injection Drug Use: Making Harm
Reduction Work for Women Women’s Networking Zone
11:00–12:30 Social Sciences and Interventions:
Putting Theories into Practice Session Room 9
Integrating Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV:
Lessons from the Field Session Room 2
13:00–14:00 Update on Microbicides Session Room 7
13:00–14:30 Women IDUs: Why so Many Barriers When
There are so Many Needs? GV Session Room 2
13:45–15:00 Women Living with HIV in Europe
and Central Asia: Launching a New Network
Women’s Networking Zone
14:30–18:00 Safer Feeding for HIV-Exposed Children:
How to Integrate Infant Feeding Into Community-
Based HIV Prevention Activities Mini Room 10
16:30 –18:30 Law on The Street: Reforming Police Practice
Towards Sex Workers and People Who Use Drugs
Session Room 5
18:30–20:30 Sex Work Legislation: Solution or Problem?
Mini Room 2
Upcoming
events
On the issue of violence against
women, I find it interesting to
watch how the issue of violence
is being taken up in the world
of HIV. From the perspective of
someone who has worked on the
issue for many years and from a
variety of angles, I see the HIV
community repeating some of
the steps and showing some of
the tensions that also took place
when GBV came onto the human
rights agenda in the late 1980s
and early 1990s.
Expanding the lens of violence
against women
Then, as now, we see that it
is easier to get attention paid to
sexual violence. Sexual violence
is so palpably evocative and
egregious that it generates energy
and attention. The challenge is
that it also runs the risk of being
sensationalised in ways that mask
nuance, and, sometimes, make the
real individuals either invisible or
as victims without agency. It has
always been much more difficult
in the context of human rights, and
now in the context of HIV, to look
at the broad scope of gender-based
violence and then to understand
sexual violence as a component of it.
In this context, it is important to
understand that it is not only sexual
violence that places women (and
people, in general) at greater risk
of HIV. Other forms of violence
intersect with HIV – placing women
and others at risk, as well as having
a distinct and serious impact on
women and others who are HIV
positive – and targeted for violence
and discrimination because of
their real or perceived sero-status.
One extreme form of the violence
against women living with HIV is,
for example, coerced sterilisation.
But we don’t always talk about
coerced sterilisation as a form of
gender-based violence. On another
front, fear of violence may keep
a woman from getting tested or
getting treatment. Sometimes the
fear or fact of violence is used to
force women to share their ARVs.
But these issues often get cordoned
off from each other as separate, and
as a result they are not always part of
a larger discussion around genderbased
violence and HIV (though
there are certainly many women’s
rights, human rights and HIV
organisations that take an integrated
and rights-based approach). When
this happens, we do a big disservice
to the analysis, to the action, and to
the potential partnerships that might
be created by looking to the full
scope of gender-based violence in
the context of HIV.
Using a rigorous gender-based
analysis also forces us to look at the
experience of men who have sex
with men and trans people, and, in
particular, to understand how their
vulnerability is increased by the fear
or reality of violence. And as with
women, the experience of being HIV
positive is always inflected with the
fear and reality of violent reprisals against them, because
they are gay, lesbian, or trans and HIV positive.
Moving the conversation forward on GBV and HIV
The Outcome Framework for the UN Joint Programme
on HIV/AIDS give a priority to working with women and
girls, with a particular focus on addressing gender-based
violence – acknowledging the intersection of the two – and
this will certainly present opportunities for moving the
agenda forward in a cross-movement and multi-sectoral way.
UNDP will also be engaging in specific work on GBV – with
all women and girls, as well as with men who have sex with
men and trans people – and frames these in the context of
human rights, as part of the HIV Practice’s broader mandate
to work on human rights, gender and sexuality diversity
and, more broadly, UNDP’s mandate to work toward gender
equality. So, for example, this includes supporting efforts to
integrate GBV into national AIDS strategies and plans, to
addressing violence against sex workers.
At the global level, the UN Secretary General’s Unite to
End Violence Campaign presents an important opportunity,
especially because it has not yet fully taken up the issue
of HIV with respect to gender-based violence. This is a
good moment for bringing more
HIV content into that campaign
– especially in the context of
the Millennium Declaration, the
MDG Summit, and the search for
programming with multi-MDG
impacts. Despite the best efforts
of many individuals, organisations
and networks, it is still the case that
in many places HIV movements,
women’s rights movements, sexual
and reproductive health and rights
movements, LGBT movements, and
violence against women movements
are still not talking with one another
enough. The UNITE Campaign
is a process that has emerged in
reference to women’s rights and
anti-GBV movements, and it is an
…being
sensationalised
in ways that
mask nuance,
and make the
real individuals
either invisible
or as victims
without
agency…
Special report:
A rigorous gender-based analysis
6 Tuesday • 20 July 2010 Susana Fried
Whether they trade sexual services by choice,
circumstance or coercion, young people have a
presence in the sex industry. While young people have
seen increased attention in HIV and AIDS discussions, there
is little to no policy guidance on providing universal access
to young people. Policy is centred on forced ‘rehabilitation’,
incarceration, and mandatory reporting of young people in the sex
industry, and like many repressive laws, regardless of ‘good intentions’,
they only aggravate the vulnerability to exploitation and violence that
young women, men and transgender sex workers face.
It is very rare to hear the voices of young sex workers. At the Youth
Pavilion in the Global Village, a panel, including young sex workers,
will present the issues that young people in the sex industry face.
The session on State Pimping: Young Sex Workers, State Custody,
and Universal Access to HIV/AIDS Services will be held
on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 from 16:00 – 17:30, and it will
highlight the importance of youth involvement in global and
regional sex work projects and organisations. Furthermore,
the effect of harshly enforcing the ‘age of majority/consent’
on young sex workers will be touched upon.
The issue of young people in the sex industry is complex. However,
it has to be clear that human rights here as well should be at the
centre. Forced ‘rehabilitation’ and incarceration ‘for their own good’ do
not address the specific needs that young sex workers face. It does
not address the underlying stigma that fuels their vulnerability to HIV
infection. And, it does not stop the violence and exploitation.
Come and be part of the debate!
testimonies that echo across the world
as evidence. There is a strong push to
create more space for human rights
style documentation and analysis as
credible evidence in the context of
HIV and public health.
Human rights folks say that one
human rights abuse is one too many
and requires action. It is not tracking
numbers but patterns. If we say
‘Rights here, Rights now’, how do we
bring these different versions of what
is the evidence that triggers a reaction
into better alignment? If AIDS 2010 is
a conference that has human rights as
its theme, it is a good time to take up
this discussion in a rigorous and clear
way – for moving the AIDS response
forward, for ensuring that it is a
gender-transformative movement.
Susana is a Senior Gender Adviser
at UNDP.
important place to move forward
more attention to HIV in this
platform.
The Vienna IAC is a valuable
moment for those who work on
women and HIV to continue the
process of meeting together and
moving discussions forward toward,
for example, the MDGs. As I
mentioned, there is a push to look at
cross-MDG strategies…and looking
at violence against women as a
cross-cutting approach to addressing
gender inequality, at the same
time that it is linked to HIV and to
women’s health. Maternal health and
maternal mortality, for example, in
combination with HIV, is another
realm where violence places women
at risk of maternal ill health.
We need to continue to create
spaces where we can be creative and
think in new ways – Vienna is this
space and the Women’s Networking
Zone is such a space – it is a good
moment to highlight successful or
new strategies and good lessons for
the MDGs and for the Universal
Access Review in 2011. There is a
strong community present (including
HIV, women’s health and rights and
LGBT) and it is a very important
opportunity to determine how to
move these conversations forward.
Reconciling the evidence base
On the one hand, there has not
been enough attention to generating
a robust evidence base on women
and girls in epidemiological terms
– and on the other, there is a strong
push from people who work on
women and HIV to expand what
‘counts’ as evidence.
In the human rights field,
evidence is based on documentation
and analysis of patterns and
… opportunities
for moving
the agenda
forward…
movements
are still not
talking with
one another
enough…
Tuesday • 20 July 2010 7
Young Sex Workers Speak Out! He-Jin Kim
Supported by the Oxfam HIV and AIDS Programme
(South Africa)
Editors: Johanna Kehler jkehler@icon.co.za
E. Tyler Crone tyler.crone@gmail.com
Photography: Johanna Kehler jkehler@icon.co.za
DTP Design: Melissa Smith melissas1@telkomsa.net
Printing: invecon www.invecon.sk
www.aln.org.za www.athenanetwork.org
8 Tuesday • 20 July 2010
In our opinion…
What can Europe learn from Africa?
Andy Gibbs, Samantha Willan and Liesl Gerntholtz
So what can Europe learn from
Africa about reproductive rights
and HIV? First, that a women’s
reproductive rights agenda can
be agreed on by regional leaders
and that such an agenda can be
progressive and provide a framework
within which women’s reproductive
rights can be secured, providing a
basis for a rights-based response to
HIV and AIDS.
Second, that such a framework
is only valuable if governments
ratify, domesticate and transparently
report on it. Since 2003, the African
Women’s Protocol has only been
ratified by 20 out of the 52 African
Union countries, furthermore
most governments are failing to
adequately report on how they are
domesticating the Protocol – limiting
the ability to hold governments
accountable.
The IAC conference provides an
important space in which to ensure
women’s reproductive rights are part
and parcel of any effective response
to HIV/AIDS. Instead of Africa going
to Europe to learn about this, maybe
Europe can learn from Africa about
what a comprehensive framework
on women’s reproductive rights
looks like – but also the pitfalls in
ensuring it is realised.
Let’s learn from each other and
change our realities!
Andy and Samantha are with
HEARD, South Africa, and
Liesl is with Human Rights Watch.
The International AIDS
Conference (IAC) 2010
provides a valuable opportunity
for articulating the central role
of women’s reproductive health
rights as a necessary component in
the response to the HIV and AIDS
epidemic. The lack of women’s
universal access to reproductive
rights is undermining the possibility
of achieving the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) in
2015 – particularly MDG 5 (Improve
Maternal Health) and MDG 6
(Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other
Diseases). It is also part and parcel
of the failure to secure universal
access to prevention, treatment
care and support for HIV and AIDS
by 2010, and is a major factor in the
high burden of HIV and AIDS on the
African continent.
Securing women’s access
to reproductive rights is a major
challenge for 2010 and onwards.
Achieving universal access to
reproductive rights globally, and
particularly in Africa, is important
in and of itself; crucial in the
achievement of the MDGs; pivotal
to realising women’s equality; and
critical to rolling back the HIV and
AIDS epidemic in the regions
worst affected.
Reproductive rights and HIV and
AIDS are fundamentally linked. The
UNAIDS Outcome Framework 2009-
2011 reinforces the understanding
of women’s rights as a crucial part
of human rights, and recognises
their reproductive rights as a key
component of an effective response
to the epidemic. The Framework
recognises that a significant
reduction of HIV infections can only
be achieved through a ‘dramatic
increase in community, national
and global action for sexual and
reproductive health and rights’.
Despite the fact that Africa has
amongst the worst outcomes for
women’s reproductive health, it also
has the strongest legal framework
globally for enabling the realisation
of women’s reproductive rights in
the form of The Protocol to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
on the Rights of Women in Africa (the
African Women’s Protocol).
The African Women’s Protocol
offers a historic vision for women’s
reproductive health rights in
Africa. Developed by African
governments, adopted by the
African Union in 2003 and entering
into force in November 2005, it
provides clear guidance on the
duties of African states in relation
to women’s reproductive health
rights. In addition, for the first time
in an international treaty, there is
specific mention of HIV and AIDS
linked directly to reproductive
rights. Furthermore, it also
provides provision for access to
abortion services (albeit in limited
circumstances). Fully implemented,
the African Women’s Protocol
provides a rights-based framework
through which universal access to
reproductive healthcare for women
can be achieved.
…securing
women’s
access to
reproductive
rights is
a major
challenge…
…a women’s
reproductive
rights agenda
can be agreed
on by regional
leaders…