Southern Africa Litigation Centre Launches HIV/AIDS Program
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre on Monday announced the launch of a new program that will focus on human rights in an effort to address HIV/AIDS issues in the region, the SAPA/SABCNews.com reports. Program Director Priti Patel said the program recognizes the importance of a human rights approach to curb the spread and mitigate the effects of HIV on individuals and communities in the region. Patel added that the program seeks to work with and support local and regional lawyers, community groups and other civil society members by bringing court cases on HIV/AIDS-related issues -- including discrimination, access to treatment and mandatory testing (SAPA/SABCNews.com, 10/29).
According to Patel, the program "does not intend to duplicate the groundbreaking work" being done by local, national and regional organizations on these issues. It will "aim to bolster" the work of local and other regional groups to increase the use of the law and litigation to "advocate for the rights of those living with HIV and those rendered vulnerable by the pandemic" (SALC release, 10/29). Patel said that although the law is a "powerful advocacy tool" for upholding the rights of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, there is a "dearth of cases in national courts on HIV/AIDS-related issues" in most Southern African countries (SAPA/SABCNews.com, 10/29).