Eminent Judges from Asia and the Pacific to discuss HIV, human rights and the law

Some 30 judges from the highest national courts from 16 countries in Asia and the Pacific will meet in Bangkok, Thailand on 2-4 June to discuss the role of the judiciary in the AIDS response.

The meeting is convened by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the ICJ as part of efforts to address concerns that legal environments, including laws and policies, law enforcement practices and access to justice across the Asia and the Pacific do not consistently protect people most at risk of HIV infection and those living with HIV from violations of their human rights including health, privacy, non-discrimination and freedom from violence.

The judges’ discussions will be supported by experts and resource people from communities living with HIV, representatives of sex workers and men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and transgender people and United Nations entities.

The ICJ has always believed that an independent judiciary is essential in delivering justice to vulnerable populations, including those living/infected with HIV.

As Mr. Sam Zarifi, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said: “The judiciary has a crucial role to play in establishing a legal environment that assists the struggle against the spread of HIV. In Asia and the Pacific, those most at risk of contracting HIV are often among those with the least access to justice. An independent judiciary can help protect at-risk populations from discriminatory laws, negative stereotypes, and misguided policies.”