– HIV and human rights-
“AIDS-related discrimination continues to affect the lives of countless victims of HIV, and is still preventing millions of people from getting tested or using the services available for the prevention and treatment of the virus.”
– UNAIDS press statement, for World Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2012
Stigmatization and discrimination of HIV-positive people and high-risk populations, criminalization of homosexuality, inequality of all kinds: these issues exist around the world, including here, and represent both a public health risk, and a social justice issue.
That’s why the protection of human rights is so critical as we fight this epidemic. Non-governmental organizations, both locally and internationally, are redoubling their efforts to ensure that governments respect their obligations in this regard, but also to empower individuals and communities to demand that their rights be respected.
In Québec, people living with HIV, like all citizens, have recourse to the law, by calling on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or appealing to the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. In actual fact though, this violation of basic rights occurs here too. Stigmatization, discrimination, and breach of confidentiality seriously impede HIV prevention efforts, and have a negative impact on the overall health of our population and the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The incredible efforts of people living with HIV cannot be stressed enough; thanks to their dedication, every day we come closer to seeing their basic rights recognized. Extraordinary work is also being done to fight prejudice and discrimination at the community level, both in Quebec and in Africa: awareness campaigns, targeted action and cooperation with government offices, adapted resources developed in response to diverse situations of discrimination, public education campaigns, etc.
Your solidarity also plays an essential role. Your commitment to work alongside us towards a society free of prejudice and discrimination counts for as much as your donations!
Alain Rayes, Mayor of Victoriaville, with BLITS – Centre-du-Québec
Journalist and television host Ali Baddou, with ALCS in Morocco.