The issue of women continuing to be at higher risk of HIV infection than men has received considerable attention at a gathering of women's affairs ministers from Commonwealth countries underway in Uganda's capital, Kampala. Of the 53 Commonwealth member states, 38 are represented at the '8th Triennial Commonwealth Women's Affairs Ministers Meeting' (8WAMM), being held under the theme 'Financing Gender Equality for Development and Democracy'. United Nations statistics indicate that women and girls in Commonwealth countries make up a third of all HIV infections. In addition, women between the ages of 15 and 24 in sub-Saharan Africa - the region most prominently represented in the Commonwealth - are two and a half times more likely to be infected than men of the same age.
Values, Policies and Rights
The Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which came into effect in 2008, has established itself as a mechanism with huge potential and which promotes dialogue and a level playing field for all countries undergoing the review of their human rights record. Building on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s observations and analysis of the process, and the seminars it has conducted with member states, Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights consolidates the lessons learned so far, speaking equally to the three major stakeholders in the process – to states, to national human rights institutions, and to civil society organisations. An effective UPR mechanism will enhance the promotion of human rights across the world. It is therefore essential for the key players to understand and advance the UPR process including at the implementation phase. This publication describes UPR, shares experiences and provides analysis of the Commonwealth countries that reported in the first year of the UPR process.
Alcohol, like mental health, is a neglected topic in public health discussions. However, the authors argue that there is sufficient evidence for it to be defined as a priority public health concern. Although only half the world’s population drinks alcohol, it is the world’s third leading cause of ill health and premature death, after low birth weight and unsafe sex, and the world’s greatest cause of ill health and premature death among individuals between 25 and 59 years of age. This paper outlines current global experiences with alcohol policies and suggests how to better communicate evidence-based policy responses to alcohol-related harm using narratives. The text summarizes six incentives for a healthier relationship with alcohol in contemporary society. These include price and availability changes, marketing regulations, changes in the format of drinking places and on the product itself, and actions designed to nudge people at the time of their purchasing decisions. Communicating alcohol narratives to policymakers more successfully will likely require emphasis on the reduction of heavy drinking occasions and the protection of others from someone else’s problematic drinking.
HLSP is a professional services firm specialising in the health sector both in the UK and globally. Compass newsletter aims to promote debate in the development world and to keep our staff, colleagues and clients in touch with changes and advances in HLSP’s work. The latest edition includes articles on rights based approaches to Maternal Health, the official launch of HLSP’s Kenya office, the case for Sector Wide Approaches, and an interview with HLSP Institute director Dr Ken Grant.
The Compendium of key documents relating to human rights and HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa is a collection, in five parts, of global, regional, sub-regional and national human rights instruments, policies, legislation and case law that are relevant to HIV and AIDS. In most instances, only excerpts pertinent to HIV and AIDS are provided. When applicable, reference is made to a source where the full text may be accessed.
This paper is a report on the development of a conceptual model delineating contexts and processes of HIV/AIDS stigma as reported by persons living with HIV/AIDS and nurses from African countries. It is part of a larger study to increase understanding of HIV/AIDS stigma.
The Rio Declaration is the outcome document of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, held from 19-21 October 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the Rio Declaration, heads of government, ministers and government representatives reaffirm their commitment to take action on social determinants of health to create vibrant, inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies, and to overcome national, regional and global challenges to sustainable development. They recognise that the current global economic and financial crisis urgently requires the adoption of actions to reduce increasing health inequities and prevent worsening of living conditions and the deterioration of universal health care and social protection systems. They offer specific actions under the following common objectives: to adopt better governance for health and development; to promote participation in policy-making and implementation; to further reorient the health sector towards reducing health inequities; to strengthen global governance and collaboration; and to monitor progress and increase accountability. In the declaration, signatories call upon the World Health Organisation, United Nations agencies and other international organisations to advocate for, co-ordinate and collaborate in the implementation of these objectives.
Healthcare providers' conscientious objection to involvement in certain procedures is grounded in the right to freedom of religion, conscience and thought. However, such conscientious objection can have serious implications for the human rights of healthcare users, including their sexual and reproductive health rights. This briefing paper examines the implications of conscientious objection, by healthcare providers, for the protection of sexual and reproductive health rights, and concludes with a set of recommendations for States' policies and laws.
In a landmark case, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled on 10 December 2012 in favour of a claimant who contracted tuberculosis (TB) during a stint in Pollsmoor Prison, Cape Town. The Constitutional Court decided that prison authorities had failed to implement adequate TB prevention measures among inmates, arguing that there was a causal link between this and the spread of TB. Section 27, a health rights group, has meanwhile warned prison authorities against neglecting TB prevention in prisons. Crowded cells in the prison leading to the spread of TB are argued to be a violation of prisoners’ right to health.
This brief is one of a weekly analysis of constitutional issues arising from COVID-19 and the responses to it. In this instalment, the author outlines the role of the courts and the arrest and the use of force by the police and the military in enforcing the lockdown, following the judgment in Khosa v Minister of Defence and Military Veterans  ZAGPPHC 147 in South Africa. The author finds that arrest in the context of COVID-19 runs the risk of subverting the very purpose of the lockdown regulations, by exposing enforcement officers and arrested civilians to a greater risk of contracting the virus. The South African Police Service has released guidelines on the use of force by security services, in a circular dated 19 May 2020 that set out principles on the use of force, the prohibition of torture and provide information on where to make complaints about police misconduct. The author proposes that thorough investigation and action on those implicated in any injury related to lockdown enforcement and ensuring an effective complaints mechanism are the crucial.