IDLO's work includes strengthening the legal response to HIV and AIDS in developing nations; fostering awareness of public health goals and human rights among government officials, and among those communities most at risk of HIV infection; and building lawmakers' capacity for reform based on evidence, international law and best practice.
We also work with United Nations agencies to scale up joint efforts towards zero HIV discrimination. Developed in partnership with UNAIDS and UNDP, our Scaling up HIV-Related Legal Services toolkit has been distributed in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian). Separately, we have launched multilingual e-learning courses on HIV Law and Policy.
IDLO’s Country Director for Somalia Adam-Shirwa Jama, responds to IDLO LinkedIn group members' questions:
Many thanks to the members for your interest in IDLO’s work in Somalia. Apologies if we didn’t manage to answer all your questions, we’ll arrange another session in the near future.
Cooperation between government and civil society is crucial in securing rights for people living with HIV, a UNDP- and IDLO-sponsored meeting was told.
An October 4 Police and HIV Consultation in Amsterdam issued a fervent call to promote partnerships between all those at the intersection between law enforcement and HIV – police and other law enforcement agencies, people living with and affected by HIV, and those providing care, treatment and suppor
IDLO is co-organizing a consultation on Police and HIV to be held in conjunction with the 2nd Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference in Amsterdam in October. The consultation is being convened by the Law Enforcement and HIV Network (LEAHN), and is being co-organized along with the Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health and Birkbeck School of Law at the University of London.
Delegates from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela will attend a three-day workshop on HIV-related services in the Andean region from September 23-25, 2014.
IDLO Director-General Irene Khan and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Executive Director James Hospedales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on non-communicable diseases. The text pledges joint action to strengthen legal frameworks and expand capacity to tackle cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes in the Caribbean.
Cairo, Egypt - IDLO hosted the Third Regional Consultation on HIV-related Legal Services and Rights, which brought together lawyers and community activists from five countries in the Middle East & North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Bangkok, Thailand - IDLO co-hosted the first ever Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV-related Legal Services and Rights, to exchange best practices and share achievements on legal aid and access to justice for people living with HIV (PLHIV).
One of the challenges in scaling up HIV-related legal services is the limited number of knowledgeable, skilled and committed lawyers to provide such services. Part of the solution therefore lies in building the capacity of law schools to ensure law graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to support human rights-based approaches to HIV. Many universities, including in East Africa, offer clinical legal education programs to give students direct experience of providing legal information to clients.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. They are more vulnerable to HIV because they are often subjected to a range of gender and age based biases, discrimination and violence, including sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking. Despite growing HIV-related responses, they and their communities most often do not have the capacity, voice and power to hold these service providers accountable for improved delivery of quality HIV-related services.
World leaders have committed to ending AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, but stigma and discrimination remain significant obstacles. In particular, police are critical, front-line determinants of risk for many people living with HIV (PLHIV) and members of other key affected populations (KAPs). The negative impact of adverse police behaviors and practices on HIV risk is well documented, and these risks undermine global efforts to end AIDS. Far less well documented, and less common, are attempts to ameliorate this impact by working to change police behaviors.
It is well recognized that discrimination against people living with HIV and affected populations (such as injecting drug users and women in the sex industry) blocks HIV prevention efforts. Discrimination discourages HIV testing and can limit access to care and treatment services. IDLO is working to provide legal information and representation to HIV-affected and key populations in Benin. Through collaboration with local organizations, IDLO is building local capacity in Benin and strengthening the legal response to help those living with HIV assert their rights and address intolerance.
IDLO has conducted a three-year project to strengthen the legal environment for the response to HIV in Papua New Guinea. Under the project, the PNG Development Law Association was established as the country's first non-governmental legal aid service to address the rights of vulnerable populations. In collaboration with AusAID, IDLO provided financial and technical support; expanded access to legal information, representation and services for people living with and populations vulnerable to HIV, including victims of domestic violence; and raised awareness of rights and protections.
Tolerance of minorities (religious, sexual or otherwise) remains low in Egypt and other Middle Eastern and North African countries. People living with HIV are among the groups facing most discrimination. The virus is associated with stigmatized behaviors, such as sex between men and drug use. Many people with HIV are thus forced into the shadows, denied treatment, at risk of abuse and imprisonment. IDLO has been working with UNAIDS and local partners to help hundreds of people living with, and affected by, HIV in Egypt to access health and legal services.