A group of young people from LGBTI civil society in Angola pose for a photo following elections of Iris Angola leadership, one of the country’s first LGBTI associations. Young key populations continue to be among the most affected by HIV. Photo: Leonel Likuno.

New York, 31 March 2021 – Legal Environment Assessments for Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, developed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and launched this week, highlight the importance of focusing on key populations to reduce HIV infections and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The reports were developed under the Linking Policy to Programming project, which aims to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights of young key populations (men who have sex with other men, young sex workers, young LGBTI people, young people who use drugs and young people in prisons).

They are intended to support country efforts to review and reform laws, policies, and practices, particularly those that impact key populations.

The reports are a follow-up to the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and are in line with the global UNDP HIV, Health and Development Strategy Note 2016-2021 and the UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goal of ending the HIV epidemic within this decade. 

“Globally, the majority of new HIV infections continue to occur amongst key populations,” said Amitrajit Saha, Team Leader for UNDP’s Africa HIV and Health team. “These Legal Environment Assessments provide countries with a clear picture of what is needed to strengthen the human rights component of their national responses for HIV, and specifically which reforms of legal and policy barriers will be most beneficial.”

Each of the chapters contain valuable recommendations, including those related to the promotion of equality and equity in public health services; strengthening anti-discrimination laws and policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity; reforming health laws and policies to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to the LGBTI community; gender equality and elimination of harmful gender norms and gender-based violence; the importance of decriminalization of HIV, same-sex relations and sex work;  promotion of rights based workplace policies and inclusive social security and social insurance policies; and increased access to justice for all.

Referring to the Angola legal environment assessment, Dra. Maria Lucia Furtado, General Director at the National Institute for the Fight against AIDS for Angola, noted: “This report should be used to inform the urgent needed interventions, aimed at removing human rights and gender-related barriers to access to HIV/sexual and reproductive health and rights services, and for catalyzing access to justice and redress for violations of human rights. The protection and promotion of human rights is an integral part of the broader response strategies used by national AIDS programmes across the world.”

The Legal Environment Assessments being launched this week were completed over a four-year period, developed through intensive participatory processes involving communities, government decision makers, parliamentarians, academic institutions, and civil society.  The exercise was led by multisectoral National Steering Committees and technical working groups under the leadership of National AIDS Commissions, Ministries of Justice and Ministries of Health with support from UNDP country offices.

Additionally, Legal Environment Assessment Policy Briefs have been produced which seek to highlight specific recommendations on how to remove legal, human rights and gender-related barriers to safe, accessible and effective health care for young key populations, to ensure they are not left behind in the HIV and sexual and reproductive health national response.  The Policy Briefs target policy makers from government, parliaments, communities, and other young people.

Since 2014, UNDP has supported multiple countries in Africa with the review and examination of laws, policies and practices on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the impact they have on key populations in accessing comprehensive services.

 

Download the reports:

Angola (Instituto Nacional de Luta contra a SIDA, UNDP) – Legal Environment Assessment (Portuguese, English) | Policy Brief (English)

Madagascar (Comite National de Lutte contre le SIDA, UNDP) – Legal Environment Assessment | Policy Brief (French)

Mozambique (UNDP) – Policy Brief (Portuguese)

Zambia (Zambia National HIV/AIDS/ STI/TB Council, UNDP) – Legal Environment Assessment | Policy Brief (English)

Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe AIDS Council, UNDP) – Legal Environment Assessment | Policy Brief (English)

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