Securing Human Rights ‘Central’ To Fighting Spread of HIV/AIDS, Piot Says
The global community must use an "AIDS-lens to scrutinize the realization of human rights" and use these rights "as a platform to increase the effectiveness of AIDS responses," Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said yesterday at the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Piot said that to realize these human rights, they must have specific definitions and measures to ensure that countries are held accountable for the provision of the rights. Piot's speech focused on three basic rights -- the rights of the child, the right to health and the right to freedom of opinion. A General Comment issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child two months ago formalized the United Nations's stance on HIV/AIDS and children, thereby requiring governments and world bodies to be held accountable for the "monitoring and accountability" of AIDS-related children's rights. In regard to the right to health, Piot said that the right to treatment is "[a]mong the keys to creating a more just world." Finally, the right to freedom of opinion is integral to effective AIDS prevention and education campaigns in securing access to information for all groups. The international community must seek to ensure these rights both within the United Nations and throughout the world by enacting suitable human rights legislation, building community capacities and providing support for HIV-positive people. "Overcoming the global HIV epidemic is a compelling case for global solidarity. AIDS is everywhere, and one of our foremost weapons in defeating it is to ensure that human rights, too, are a reality everywhere," Piot concluded (Speech text, 3/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.