On 4 November, the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights (Reference Group) launched its new website, containing all the Reference Group’s statements, papers, and recommendations since its first meeting in 2002. The Reference Group is an independent, advisory group that advises the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on all matters relating to human rights, law and HIV. The Reference Group is comprised of human rights and HIV experts, including people living with HIV, jurists and HIV service providers and funders.
The website brings together expert opinion on a range of HIV-related human rights issues such as HIV testing and treatment, international and domestic funding obligations, protecting human rights defenders, and the rights of vulnerable, marginalized, and criminalized populations.
“Publicizing these documents in one dedicated place is part of our effort to be transparent in our advice to UNAIDS on human rights. We want to be held accountable for what we do and how we do it,” said Reference Group co-chair Jonathan Cohen.
Among many other documents, the website contains the report of the Reference Group’s most recent, 14th meeting, with many recommendations aimed at strengthening the response to HIV. Discussions at the meeting focused on three issues, each of which has critical human rights dimensions: shared responsibility and global solidarity for the HIV response; the investment approach to HIV; and scaling up HIV treatment.
The Reference Group was established in 2002 to advise UNAIDS on all matters relating to HIV and human rights. The Reference Group speaks with an independent voice. The UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights advises UNAIDS on how it can strengthen the capacity of governments, civil society and the private sector to protect and promote human rights in relation to HIV, and how it can best operationalize human rights and GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV) principles in UNAIDS’ policies and technical support.