Islamabad, Pakistan, 4 June 2012. At the invitation of UNDP and UNAIDS Pakistan, Ms Naomi Burke-Shyne, IDLO, spoke at the First Steering Committee Meeting to Review the Legislative and Policy Environment with regard to the Human Rights and HIV in Islamabad. Ms Burke-Shyne made interventions during the meeting based on the experiences of the IDLO Health Law Program, and presented on regional initiatives strengthening the enabling environment and supporting the legal response to HIV.
The Steering Committee was comprised of representatives from the One UN Joint UN Team on AIDS, people living with HIV, civil society representatives and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The Steering Committee convened to discuss strategies for a rights-based response to HIV in Pakistan and to plan for an upcoming national study on the legislative and policy environment with regard to human rights and HIV.
Noting that law reform is a lengthy and unpredictable process, Ms Burke-Shyne proposed stakeholders explore flexibilities within the existing national legal system to protect and promote HIV-related rights, promote access to justice mechanisms and build relationships with key law and justice sector stakeholders. Ms Burke-Shyne also shared lessons learned supporting the legal response to HIV under the IDLO Health Law Program.
At a national level in Pakistan, there is a growing recognition of the role of the enabling environment and vulnerabilities to HIV among transgender people (3rd National Strategic Plan and Provincial AIDS Strategies). UNDP highlighted commitments made by member states, including Pakistan, under the UN ESCAP Asia-Pacific High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Assessment of Progress against Commitments in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals.
IDLO is present in Pakistan with the joint regional initiative ‘Assessing the Capacity of National Human Rights Institutions to Address the Rights of Sexual Minority Populations’, conducted in partnership with SAARCLAW (the legal apex body of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), UNDP and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.