Though constitutionally people living with HIV in Jordan have the same legal rights as anyone else, many don’t know or access their rights, and often don’t seek medical treatment for fear of being turned away.
IDLO and Mr. Mohammed El Nasser, a legal consultant and the project manager at the Jordanian Commission for Human Culture, have been working to change this with the ‘Strengthening and Expanding HIV-related Legal Services’ project, which closed Saturday with a ceremony in Amman.
Over the past two years, the project has achieved groundbreaking results in the MENA region. In Phase I of the program in 2010 IDLO held a consultation to assess the legal needs of people living with HIV and to determine to what extent the role of media could help in reducing discrimination and stigmatization of HIV in society.
From 2012 to present, as part of Phase II, legal services have been strengthened through quality legal service providers, and rights are being promoted through social, health and media initiatives. The program team worked with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Interior to hold trainings for lawyers across Jordan, while also promoting rights through TV interviews, social media, and radio. Law students in four cities across Jordan received lectures on HIV and the law, and because of the strong role the media has played in promoting the rights of people living with HIV, society has a better understanding of the disease and its transmission. Social media has also been a factor, and people living with HIV are using it as a force to advocate for their rights and tackle stigma.
Policy makers and officials are realizing the importance of HIV law as a human rights issue, and are increasingly sensitized to the rights of PLHIV. The program has also set up and made legal services more available for people living with HIV in Jordan, and as the law is publicized through the media component the number of people receiving services will rise.
The closing ceremony was an opportunity to present the project results and to show how they can be adopted across the MENA region as best practice.