Welcome to the 17th addition of the ARASA Newsletter

In this edition, we update you on ARASA’s participation in the 20th International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne, Australia from 20 to 25 July.

In addition to co-hosting the Human Rights Networking Zone with the Canadian AIDS Legal Network, ARASA staff also hosted, co-chaired, and presented in a number of sessions. You can read the staff programme here

The Human Rights Networking Zone was a popular venue for interaction between conference delegates and human rights activists from around the world, many of whom were drawn by the smell of popcorn and a photo booth. A variety of sessions centred on pressing human rights issues were hosted at the zone. The themes of the sessions ranged from the criminalisation of HIV transmission exposure and non-disclosure, human rights and public health challenges to drug policy, sexual orientation and gender identity, threats to treatment access and women’ rights in the AIDS response.(Programme link)

A major highlight for the ARASA team was the launch of our 2014 HIV and Human Rights in Southern and East Africa report by the Honourable Michael Kirby, former Justice of the Australian High Court.

In this edition we also report on the Beyond Blame, HIV Criminalisation pre-conference and provide an update on criminalisation of HIV transmission, exposure and non-disclosure around the world. ARASA also caught up with some of its partners who attended the conference to get their views and impressions of the gathering.

We hope you enjoy reading this edition!

Should you have any questions, stories or ideas for the newsletter, contact Sirka Amaambo, ARASA’s Communications Officer at sirka@arasa.info.  Please like our Facebook page “ARASA” and do not forget to follow us on Twitter @_ARASAcomms.

Until next time!


List of articles

Status of HIV and Human Rights in Southern and East Africa

An enabling legal and policy environment is essential for the promotion of a rights-based response to HIV in southern and east Africa

Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation

“The best role the law can play is in creating a supportive environment for people in private to govern their own conduct.” – Hon Michael Kirby Working to end the overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission was the focus of the ‘Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV criminalisation’ pre-conference on Sunday, 20 July.

Where are we now? What’s holding us back and how do we move faster?

Speaking during the plenary session on Monday, 21 July, Dr Lydia Mungherera, a Ugandan medical doctor as well as gender and human rights activist living with HIV, raised the question ‘where are we now’? and recognised the various roles people living with HIV, and in particular women living with HIV, play at the centre of the response.

“Queer Resistance”: A Roundtable Discussion on Global LGBTI Rights

On 22 July 2014, a session entitled ‘Queer Resistance’ was hosted in the Human Rights Networking Zone in the Global Village to unpack challenges associated with defending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights, specifically in hostile environments around the world. The panel included Maurice Tomlinson from LGBTI Aware Caribbean, Gennady Roshchupkin from Eurasian Coalition on Male Health, Mauro Cabral from Global Action for Trans* Equality and Geoffrey Ogwaro from Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

Women’s Voices: Women Living with HIV Speak Out

On 22 July, UNAIDS hosted a session in anticipation of the release of its report later this year “The Women Speak Out”, which sheds light on the experiences of women living with HIV in overcoming, as well as addressing violence against women.

Partner's corner

Although not many ARASA partners were able to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, we caught up with some who attended and asked for their views of the conference: