The state of human rights in relation to key populations, HIV and sexual and reproductive health


This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the bold acknowledgement by all the nations of the world that “the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

 As we celebrate the UDHR anniversary, we also need to take stock to reflect on humanity’s journey on this incredible path of realising human rights for all. In doing so, we must acknowledge that whilst the rhetoric has been on the inalienable rights of all members of the human family, the reality on the ground has been different, often characterised by the violation of rights of sexual minorities and other marginalised groups.

Increasingly, humanity accepts the proposition that a fair, prosperous, secure and sustainable future is not possible if the rights of every person are not recognised in practice and in law. Perhaps no other public health epidemic has tried this assertion as well as the proclamation of “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” by the UDHR, as has HIV. HIV is not just a public health matter, it is also a human rights and social justice challenge perpetuated by stigma and discrimination and the failure to guarantee the rights of those most at risk of the disease. As a result, HIV continues to be a major global public health concern, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far. In 2017, 940,000 people died from HIV-related causes globally. There were approximately 37 million people living with HIV at the end of 2017 globally, including 1.8 million people who became newly infected in 2017; [2.World Health Organization (WHO). Geneva: WHO; 2018. HIV/AIDS. ]

Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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