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Model Law on HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa

12 Apr 2017
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The Model Law guarantees the respect for human rights principles, rejects coercive approaches, addresses the root causes of vulnerability to infection and ensures the protection of members of vulnerable and marginalised groups.

It is based on and incorporates human rights principles

The Model Law devotes several provisions to the protection of human rights. It pays specific attention to the often forgotten or neglected issues and groups, and integrates them into the legal response to HIV.

In more recent times, to some degree since the advent of ARVs in 1996, the biomedical and public health approaches have been in ascendancy, with some of their proponents advocating that there should be a “return” to “public health principles” in the response to HIV, sometimes in explicit contrast to “human rights approaches”, and sometimes in opposition to what is seen as failed multi-sectoralism.

However, the human rights based approach is still at the core of most successful proven strategies to address the epidemic. Failing and failed attempts are often the result of an inadequate implementation of human rights based strategies, such as voluntary counselling and testing, education and access to treatment. Frustration with the implementation of human rights based strategies should not lead to discarding the human rights approach. In fact, the potential of the human rights based approach has not been fully utilised or explored. In any event, all the states in SADC are party to numerous international human rights instruments and have domestic systems of human rights protection in place. The Model Law upholds human rights standards as provided in international human rights conventions at the global, regional and sub-regional level.

Global inspiration: Many SADC member states are party to treaties relevant to HIV and AIDS, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979). In addition, there are numerous non-binding but persuasive documents that inspired the Model Law, such as the International Guidelines, the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (2001), and the Millennium Development Goals (2000).

Regional inspiration: All SADC members are party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981), and subscribe to the Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases (2001), and the the Maputo Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Other Related Infectious Disease (2003). Sub-regional inspiration: The Model law also build on instruments previously adopted under the auspices of SADC, such as the SADC Protocol on Health (1999), the SADC Code on HIV/ AIDS and Employment (1997), the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development (1997) and the Addendum to the Declaration on Gender and Development by SADC (1998), the Maseru Declaration on the Fight against HIV/AIDS in the SADC Region (2003) and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008).

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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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