Call for Submissions for the Second Africa Regional Dialogue on HIV, TB and the Law

May 26, 2017

The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) and UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, under the Africa Regional Grant on HIV: Removing Legal Barriers, will host the second Africa Regional Dialogue on HIV, TB and the Law on 3-4 August 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The first Africa Regional Dialogue on HIV and the Law called for evidence on the impact of laws, policies and practices on the lives of key populations and on universal access to HIV-related health care services. The second Africa Regional Dialogue will continue to identify key HIV, as well as TB, issues of critical concern. However, it will include a strong focus on understanding what has been done to follow up on the recommendations from the first Africa Regional Dialogue, and what has worked to bring about change. The Dialogue would like to hear how laws and policies have changed, if at all, and whether this has impacted upon lives; how education and training have helped to empower populations and to change attitudes, if at all, and whether populations are better able to access support and mechanisms to enforce their rights.

The second Africa Regional Dialogue, which will bring together 140 government and civil society participants from across Africa, will also discuss progress on the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Commission on HIV and the Law in the region, highlight issues and concerns that continue to face challenges and make strategic suggestions and recommendations on the way forward.

Objectives:

1.       To provide a platform for a range of stakeholders from different sectors, including people living with HIV/TB, key populations, civil society and government, to engage in evidence informed discussions on priority HIV, law and human rights issues of regional and national concern;

2.       To reflect on the extent to which the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law have been implemented and to evaluate the impact of these initiatives on HIV, law and human rights issues;

3.       To identify current challenges and obstacles that continue to impede access to justice and to HIV/TB treatment, care and support services; and

4.       To share Model Laws, good practices and lessons learned from work undertaken in the region to date on implementing the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and strengthening the legal and policy environments regarding access to HIV/TB, health and social services.

Outcomes

1.       Increased understanding of ongoing, key HIV/TB, law and human rights issues of regional and national concern, the impact of rights-based responses, as well as current and ongoing gaps, challenges and barriers to universal access to HIV-related health care.

2.       The prioritization of regional and national recommendations for action in the short, medium and long term to strengthen HIV/TB, law and human rights in Africa; and

3.       A strengthened network of CSOs, academia, activists and other stakeholders to provide continued engagement on HIV/TB and the law in Africa.

Thematic areas of the Dialogue

•         Stigma and discrimination, legal aid responses, legal frameworks and access to justice

•         Laws and practices that mitigate or sustain violence and discrimination lived by women

•         Laws and practices that facilitate or impede HIV-related treatment access

•         Law and HIV pertaining to children

•         Laws and practices that effectively criminalize people living with HIV and key populations.

How can the law play a central role in the HIV and TB response?

Imagine living in a world where the law fully protects the human rights and dignity of all. In that world women, children and key populations– sex workers, people who use drugs, gay men and men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners and migrants – could safely and freely take steps to protect themselves against HIV infection and to stay healthy if they are living with HIV. They would be able to access services that benefit not only them but those that they come into contact with.

The law can protect those vulnerable to and living with HIV and those with TB, against abuse and harassment by the police and against discrimination by health care workers and employers. The law can make it possible for people at risk of HIV to access the tools they need to stay HIV-free. Likewise, the law can make it possible for people living with HIV to access life-sustaining treatment.

Knowledge of and respect for the law and how to enforce it can help to create a safe, protective environment for all affected populations. A world in which laws support human rights for all can be a world without HIV and TB!

Why is your submission important?

To have the greatest impact, the second Regional Dialogue’s planning team is seeking inputs from diverse civil society groups and individuals, including those advocating for human rights, women’s issues, key populations, etc. We are looking to learn from the experiences and knowledge of those most affected to find out about empowering laws and practices and how they’ve led to change, and disempowering laws and practices that remain. The Dialogue wants to hear what’s been done to create change, what works and why, or why not. By speaking out now, your experience and knowledge will help to shape the Regional Dialogue’s thinking and recommendations, and influence advocacy efforts in the region.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

We want to learn from your experience or knowledge.

1.       In many parts of Africa, as in other parts of the world, the law treats people vulnerable to HIV as criminals. Many African countries criminalize a wide range of behaviours that may expose a person to HIV, making potential criminals of people living with HIV. In other countries, it is illegal to be a sex worker, a man who has sex with men, a transgender person, a drug user or a migrant. Even in places where these behaviours are not crimes, law enforcement agencies, including police officers, harass or abuse members of these groups. Are you a member of one these groups who has been cast as a criminal or mistreated by police because of who you are? Do you work with marginalized people whose lives are criminalized? Share your experience of how the law impacts your life or the lives of those you work with.

2.       Similarly, women and children often experience violence, discrimination and inequality, and are unable to access basic rights for survival, increasing their vulnerability to HIV. Too often, the law does little to promote equal access to their rights, prevent discrimination and violence or to help those who have suffered. Have you lived this experience? Do you work with people who have? Share your experience with us.

3.       In many places, intellectual property laws create barriers to HIV-related treatment access, resulting in inflated prices and reduced supplies of life-saving medicines. Are you an academic, researcher or human rights advocate who has been working on intellectual property rights in the context of HIV-related treatment access in your country? Share your work and your perspective with us.

HOW TO SUBMIT

1) Countries covered by this call

You are invited to make a submission if your experience has been in a country within the African Union.

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of the Africa Regional Grant on HIV: Removing Legal Barriers’ Sub recipients (ARASA, KELIN, SALC and Enda Santé), the Principal recipient (UNDP) and a number of regional key populations groups. Authors of submissions will be invited to Johannesburg to participate in the second Regional Dialogue, which will be conducted with simultaneous translation between English, French and Portuguese.

2) Languages

Submissions are welcome in English, French and Portuguese.

3) Confidentiality of submissions

Submissions can be made at two levels: Public or Confidential. You should clearly state if you would like it to remain confidential. All submissions will be collected by ARASA for an objective review by the Regional Review Panel, based on a range of criteria. ARASA will then submit the relevant submissions to a Regional Selection Committee which will select the submissions to be shared at the Regional Dialogue.

If you would like your submission to be treated as confidential, then please provide two versions of the submission: (1) a confidential version, which will be viewed only by ARASA, (2) a public version with all confidential information removed, which will be submitted to the Regional Selection Committee for review.

Please note that while only some submissions will be selected for the Regional Dialogue, all submissions sent to the Regional Selection Committee are important and will inform and shape the Dialogue’s agenda, conclusions and recommendations.

4) Format of submissions

All submissions must follow the template for submissions prescribed below.

•         Letter format: Submissions should be no more than 3 pages long (maximum 1,500 words in the main body of the submission), on A4 size paper. If sent by email, submissions should be in PDF (.pdf), RTF (.rtf) or Word Doc (.doc; docx) format. (Please note if your submission is confidential, only the public version will be shared with the Regional Selection Committee for review).

•         Audio/Video format: Submissions in audio or video format should be no more than 10 minutes long. (If your audio or video submission is confidential, please do not mention your name and contact details in the submission. Instead, please include this information in the submission template accompanying your submission.)

•         Online Audio/Video submissions: Submissions that cannot be sent via mail or email can be submitted online. They may be uploaded on “youtube.com” or “vimeo.com” using a personal account. Please make sure to secure your video as “private” and send us the link and password to your video.

5) Deadline

12 June 2017

Please note that only 1 submission per individual or organization will be accepted.

Send your entries to

Via Email to: submissions@arasa.info

Subject line should be: “Submission Second Africa Regional Dialogue-level of Confidentiality-Key issue(s)”. (e.g. Submission Africa Regional Dialogue-Public-Criminalization of drug use).

Via Mail to: ARASA, Unit 203 Saltcircle, 374 Albert Road, Woodstock. Cape Town, South Africa, 7915

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