A life of dignity for all | Mandeep DhaliwalPublished on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 10:36
At the same time, evidence points to worrying under-investment in health services for these very populations who bear a disproportionate burden of HIV. Social marginalization, stigma and human rights abuses are often the reality for excluded groups worldwide, and these increase vulnerability to HIV. Additionally, among people living with HIV, members of typically marginalized groups tend to experience heightened stigma and discrimination due to HIV-status. There is an urgent need to address the legal and policy barriers that intensify inequalities – including gender inequality – deepen marginalization and perpetuate violations of human rights. The report of the UNDP-supported Global Commission on HIV and the Law provides a clear blueprint for addressing these barriers, and partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria are calling for increased investment in human rights programmes.
On International Human Rights Day, as we recommit to making the protection and fulfillment of human rights a reality for all, let us set our sights on an ambitious goal – achieving substantive equality for all. This will require us to address the very roots of inequality and would yield benefits beyond HIV and health. Practically, this means : • investing in legal empowerment for the very populations who continue to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV, • facilitating law reform based on public health evidence and human rights, • encouraging equitable law enforcement, • and enhancing access to justice, including at the municipal level. This would be a sound public health investment, and as we honour his legacy on this human rights day, a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela’s prescient vision of dignity, equality and justice for all. Talk to us: How can we make sure people most at risk or living with HIV enjoy the same fundamental human rights as all of us?
About the author: Mandeep Dhaliwal is Director, HIV, Health & Development Practice, United Nations Development Programme.
Source: UNDP Our Perspective Blog