The Global Commission on HIV and the Law convened Regional Dialogues to generate policy debate, with a view to giving a voice to the critical HIV-related human rights and legal issues in regions, and improving HIV responses by strengthening legal environments. Regional Dialogues were held to learn from individuals, communities, policy and law makers, judges and law enforcers. The dialogues were an opportunity for those profoundly and directly affected by and vulnerable to HIV, including those whose voices are silenced by restrictive legal environments, to be heard. They also provided an opportunity to share and learn from positive examples of enabling legal and social environments for people living with HIV and those vulnerable to it, and to discuss how the law can be a powerful instrument to challenge stigma, promote public health and protect human rights.
The scope of the Regional Dialogues was influenced by selected written and video submissions received prior to the dialogues in response to regional calls for submissions made to civil society organizations and individuals. The regional calls for submissions particularly requested submissions to address the areas of work of the Commission:
(1) Laws and practices that effectively criminalise people living with HIV and vulnerable to HIV;
(2) Laws and practices that mitigate or sustain violence and discrimination as lived by women;
(3) Laws and practices that facilitate or impede HIV-related treatment access; and
(4) Issues of law and HIV pertaining to children.
Regional Dialogues focused on the impact of local, national and regional laws, law enforcement practices and access to justice on the lives of people living with HIV and those most vulnerable to it. The dialogues also looked at the role of police, courts, ministries of law and justice, prisons, detention centres, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations.
The Regional Dialogues took place in ‘town hall’ style format and were moderated by skilled communicators, such as Nisha Pillai for Asia-Pacific and High Income Countries, Martine Dennis for the Caribbean, Yelena Khanga for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Jorge Gestoso for Latin America, and Zeinab Badawi for Africa.
The outcomes of the Regional Dialogues assisted the Global Commission in its efforts to develop actionable, evidence-informed and human rights-based recommendations for effective HIV responses that protect and promote the rights of people living with and most vulnerable to HIV. The evidence-informed inputs from civil society and policymakers served as a basis for the Commission’s work, informed the Commission’s deliberations and helped shape their thinking and recommendations. The Regional Dialogues also contributed to enhancing awareness, engagement and ownership within regions on the actions required to effect real change on issues of human rights and the law that can support improvements in people’s lives and health. For instance, regional dialogues helped anticipate actions to be considered as a follow-up work of the Commission. For example, national law reform, community mobilisation, legal education for the judiciary, and other legal empowerment approaches.
Regional Dialogues were held in 7 regions (Asia-Pacific, Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Africa and High Income Countries), and all necessary measures were taken to ensure the confidentiality of those who decided to share their experiences.
For more information on:
– Civil Society Participation – please click here
– Submissions to Regional Dialogues – please click here
– A specific Regional Dialogue: