UNAIDS official stresses advocacy for rights of HIV-infected persons

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) â" The Director of UNAIDS Re-gional Bureau for West and Ce ntral Africa, Mrs.
Meskerem Grunitzky Bekele, on Monday stressed that the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS must be the priority in the fight against all fo r ms of discrimination and stigmatisation against them.
â?The creation or reinforcement of legal centres and the provision of judicial assistance to vulnerable groups to guarantee the right to justice for all is a m a jor concern,â? she declared at the opening ceremony of a two-day regional workshop on AIDS and human rights in Dakar.
Bekele said the effects of discrimination and stigmatization "seriously cur b universal access" to treatment.
She added that such barriers were well anchore d in a few legal provisions and reinforced the inequality of citizens before the l aw and fostered vulnerability of the infected person.
â?To achieve universal access and the Millennium Development Goals, it will be necessary to support AIDS prevention and treatment programmes as well as innovat i ve financing patterns meant for ensuring their continued existence.
â? However, Mrs Bekele noted, progress had been made to ensure the effective integr ation of human rights and gender issues in HIV control programmes.
She underline d that under no circumstances must this progress gloss over the delay known by a few countries in amending their legal p rovisions on HIV/AIDS.
Across the 24 West and Central African countries, only Senegal and Guinea have f ully amended and adopted a new law on HIV/AIDS.
Twelve countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, the Republic of Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Co n go (DRC), Senegal and Togo - are participating in the Dakar workshop.

09 august 2010 21:35:00

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