April 16, 2021
HJN is urging all stakeholders engaged with the civil society dialogue on the new Global AIDS Strategy and the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS to ensure that HIV criminalisation is included as a key indicator in the 2021 Political Declaration. We must ensure political commitment to remove laws and policies that unjustly target people living with HIV, who are often also members of other criminalised or marginalised populations.
The High-Level Meeting (HLM), which takes place between 8-10 June 2021, will review the progress made in ending HIV as public health threat since the last HLM in 2016. We expect the UN General Assembly to adopt a new political declaration to guide the future direction of the response as the world marks 40 years since the first case of AIDS was reported, and the 25th anniversary since UNAIDS was established.
As noted in the new Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026, End Inequalities, End AIDS, ending HIV criminalisation is central to ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030, noting: “Punitive laws, the absence of enabling laws and policies, and inadequate access to justice contribute to the inequalities that undermine HIV responses.”
The Strategy furthers states that HIV and other forms of criminalisation are a violation of human rights. “SDG 3 cannot be achieved if stigma, discrimination, criminalization of key populations, violence, social exclusion, and other human rights violations in the context of HIV are allowed to continue and if HIV-related inequalities persist. The evidence consistently shows that the criminalization of people living with HIV and key populations reduces service uptake and increases HIV incidence.”
HJN is therefore calling on all stakeholders to ensure that a specific focus on HIV criminalisation is included in the 2021 Political Declaration. Here’s how:
- Contact key government officials engaged with the HLM to influence your country’s input into the negotiations around the Political Declaration
- Advocate for your government to include representatives of affected communities in the country delegation to the HLM and advocate for the highest level of government representation at the HLMs
- If your civil society organisation doesn’t already have ECOSOC status, you can register for special accreditation to participate in the HLM until 25 April.
And through the leadership of our HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE partner, GNP+, you can make your voice heard and included by responding to a survey that will support the development of a civil society statement with clear community recommendations to the HLM and Political Declaration.
The responses to this survey, which should take less than 10 minutes, are confidential and will only be used for the purpose of the HLM process. The closing date to submit your responses is next Tuesday, 20th April 2021.