No real framework addressing fight against HIV/Aids: ACHPR

02 May 2017 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 02 MAY (NAMPA) – In spite of the existing policies dealing with the fight against HIV/Aids, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) says Namibia does not have a real framework specifically addressing the fight against the disease.
The commission made the announcement through its Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Persons Living with HIV/Aids, Persons at Risk and Vulnerable groups here last Friday.
In its preliminary report, the six member delegation, which was in the country on a week-long fact finding mission, said there is an absence of a real legal framework to fight against the virus, despite existing policies dealing with the subject according to fields of interventions such as labour, the public and private sector and defence force.
It said there is a need to reform certain laws inherited from the colonial period since they limit the people living with HIV/Aids and victims of human rights violations to fully enjoy their rights.
“There is a need for reforms to facilitate access to justice for victims of human rights violations, including socio-economic rights violations and the need for disaggregation of data in the fight against HIV,” the commission said.
However, the delegation also noted positive developments which it said are characterised by a clear political will and a real commitment to the treatment, management and prevention of HIV in Namibia.
As part of the progress made, the delegation noted among other things, the existence of various programmes dedicated to the management of the HIV pandemic, including information and prevention, testing, access to treatment, monitoring and patient’s welfare through nutrition programmes.
Commissioner Lucy Asuabgor encouraged Government to continue with efforts and initiatives aimed at improving the enjoyment and effective protection of human rights in the country, especially to people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups.
It also commended Government on a clear commitment to gender issues, the eradication of poverty identified as the cause of high HIV prevalence, as well as measures to address gender based violence and the inclusion of representatives of key populations and vulnerable groups in the elaboration of the new National Strategic Framework.
During its stay, the delegation met with representatives of the United Nations system, the Law Society, the Legal Assistance Centre, various ministries and non-governmental organisations.
Although a detailed report on the findings is still to be produced, part of its recommendation is for Government to accelerate the adoption of the new National Strategic Framework for the fight against HIV in line with regional and international human rights obligations.
In addition, it suggested that Government should reinforce the actions in the fight against HIV through a human rights-based approach, including inclusive participation of all stakeholders in particular key populations and vulnerable groups at all stages of the implementation of the National Strategic Framework.