Press-announcement: Legal aid to people affected by HIV/AIDS epidemic
Network for legal aid to people affected by HIV/AIDS includes the organizations from 9 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Today it is only network in the region, bringing together lawyers rendering free legal assistance to people affected by HIV in Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly on June 10, 2011, states "... full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for everybody is an essential element in global response to the HIV epidemic..." Protecting the rights of people affected by HIV is regularly marked by international organizations that analyze the situation with HIV epidemic, as one of the most important components of its control.
Realizing this fact, the network members formulated their mission as "creating favorable legal environment and legal practice to protect the rights and legitimate interests of people living with or affected by HIV and key groups most at risk of HIV infection, such as injection drug users and patients undergoing replacement therapy."
Lawyers of member organizations provide legal advice, protect the interests of people affected by HIV in state bodies, national courts, the European Court and UN Committees.
The network exists for more than a year. During the existence of the network it was noticed that most appeals for protection of violated rights were lodged in Ukraine, Russia and Moldova.
Lawyers of the organization «IDOM», Moldova, through the successful court cases, have managed to change national legal framework, removing the requirement to write diagnoses in sick-lists.
In Ukraine in 2013 the lawyers obtained a record for the country amount of compensation for infection with HIV in a hospital. Owing to a lawyer of the network for legal aid to vulnerable groups of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the hospital was sentenced to pay 500 thousand hryvnias (approximately 45,000 Euro) for infection with HIV.
The complaints, supported by Russian organization Agora, on the lack of medical care for HIV+ prisoners which resulted in their death, and on expulsion from Russia of a foreign citizen because of positive HIV status in the European Court of Human Rights in 2013 have passed to the stage of communication (consideration).
Members of the legal clinic of the IHEI Kaluga branch, which activities went beyond the legal clinic, took part in the case, where the decision of the national court allowed a HIV positive citizen of Uzbekistan to stay in the Russian Federation. Now they are fighting for early release of a prisoner in serious condition as a result of HIV and related diseases.
Negotiations between representatives of the state and a lawyer of the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH help to change attitudes to people living with HIV of health care workers, social services, employers and organizations where people with HIV work. In 2013, she achieved the provision of treatment to HIV- infected patient, who was discharged from a hospital in serious condition, and prevention of disclosure of HIV status of an employee.
The epidemic is spreading, so the network will expand and enhance the resources. We plan to realize joint projects within the network, to involve the network of legal clinics to our activities and to exchange experience with the networks that work successfully in other regions.
All information on member organizations, including their contacts, can be found on this website.
For additional information please address Aygul Mukanova, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +380503030433.
Робин С. Шарма