Pacific Consultation on Legal and Policy Barriers to Accessing HIV Services for PLHIV and Key Affected PopulationsPublished on Friday, 19 April 2013 10:19
[Originally published as news update by Ferdinand Strobel, UNDP Regional Centre Pacific in the HIV network News Update]
Government, CSOs and community representatives from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu met in Fiji to review laws and policies which impact on HIV and health programming initiatives and developed country action plans towards eventual revision and/or removal of laws, policies and practices that adversely affect the successful delivery of HIV services to people living with HIV, sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, as well as other key affected populations.
The highly interactive event was a key Pacific regional follow-up to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and an opportunity to further the implementation of commitments made in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Resolutions 66/10 and 67/9.
Health and legal officials as well as communities’ representatives, people living with HIV and international experts were able to review country by country situations, discuss practices and obstacles in light of strategic information and, thoroughly consider the recommendations made by the Global Commission.
The ensuing prioritized Action Plans to be implemented at the country level between now and 2015 range from supporting the progress of HIV Bills through Parliament, progressing the decriminalization of sex work and homosexuality in some countries; to awareness raising on key legal and human rights issues with the judiciary and law enforcement agencies as well as increased access to justice.
Since 2007 UNDP, UNAIDS and the Regional Rights Resource Team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community inter-alia have been providing technical assistance in the areas of human-rights based HIV programming and law reform. Progressive legislations are now in place in Fiji, draft Bills have been developed in the Cook Islands and Tuvalu, while the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati have commenced drafting of rights-based national HIV cabinet papers to guide legal reform towards more effective HIV responses.
See also a related feature story from UNAIDS on this event here.
Download the Meeting Report