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Background to the advocacy tools

Research conducted in many parts of the world and especially in Eastern and Southern Africa, has explored and established the relationship between HIV and human rights. Violations of human rights exacerbate the spread of the pandemic. The impact of HIV on individuals, communities, and countries is worsened by the inadequate protection and realisation of human rights. Acknowledging and addressing human rights violations should be a central element of the response to HIV and AIDS. However, addressing human rights violations will require the integration of international human rights principles and norms into the national legal framework. Cognisant of this fact, UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa held a consultative workshop for stakeholders in Eastern and Southern Africa in Johannesburg on 27-29 June 2006. 

As part of this process, a desk review and analysis of the regional and national legal and policy frameworks for the response to HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa was conducted. The review highlighted, among others, the need to mainstream human rights standards and norms into national responses to HIV in Eastern and Southern African countries.  The advocacy tools, presented in this flyer, were developed, following this review, to support Eastern and Southern African countries in their legislative and policy reform in the context of HIV.


The advocacy tools


Overview of the advocacy tools

Tools - click here for an enlarged version

Aim of the advocacy tools

The advocacy tools seek to assist parliamentarians, government officials, members of the judiciary, lawyers, civil society organisations, people living with HIV and all interested institutions and individuals in the implementation and advocacy of human rights norms in the context of the HIV pandemic.
The advocacy tools aim to:

  • facilitate better understanding of the role of human rights frameworks in addressing the HIV pandemic, with particular attention to the gender determinants and implications of HIV;
  • build the capacity of stakeholders to act as advocates for a human rights-based response to HIV at national level;
  • provide information about relevant human rights documents;
  • facilitate better understanding of states’ obligation to domesticate international human rights;
  • raise awareness of international human rights norms relating to HIV and AIDS;
  • inform change agents about the obligations that arise from those documents;
  • improve implementation of these obligations by advocating more effective domestication of international standards; and
  • provide a framework for the reform of policy and legislation in conformity with human rights standards.

The underlying assumption of the advocacy tools is that the law is a determinant of social change. All the advocacy tools emphasise the need to mainstream human rights and especially gender equality into all HIV-related laws, policies and programmes.

The advocacy tools should be perceived and used as complementary to existing advocacy tools and efforts at national, regional and global level. The advocacy tools reinforce each other and should be used as a package rather than as ‘stand-alone’ materials. However, for a better use of the advocacy tools, the specific content, purpose and approach of each tool must be understood.  

Authors and acknowledgement

The advocacy tools were developed by the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit, a joint programme of the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Staff of the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit, who participated in developing the advocacy tools, are Susan Precious, Karen Stefiszyn, Adiam Woldeyohannes, Patrick Eba and Frans Viljoen. The dedicated assistance of the following interns working with the Unit is also gratefully acknowledged: Marloes Stammen, Emma Chase Bellamy, Alastair Crewe, Isabel De Bruin-Cardoso and Alaric Vandenberghe.

The support of Mary Crewe, Pierre Brouard and, in particular, Rakgadi Mohlahlane, at the Centre for the Study of Aids is much appreciated and acknowledged.

The authors also acknowledge the support of Shivaji Bhattacharya and Irene Akiy of UNDP-RSC for Eastern and Southern Africa.

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