The National Conference on HIV/AIDS and the Rights of Vulnerable Populations, held in Tunis from 14-15 December 2023, marked the first convening of diverse stakeholders at the national level in Tunisia to examine the critical nexus between the law and responding to HIV/AIDS.
Organized by IDLO in collaboration with UNAIDS and Avocats Sans Frontières, the event drew more than 200 participants, including civil society leaders, political decision-makers, health professionals, academics and affected communities. It emphasized the importance of ensuring legal protection for vulnerable groups, such as people living with HIV and marginalized communities, and underscored the urgent need to address stigma and discrimination.
IDLO has been supporting such efforts in Tunisia since 2011 as part of its work on improving legal and judicial systems, contributing to economic development and empowerment, and supporting the needs of women and vulnerable groups.
During the conference, IDLO Tunisia Country Representative Ahmed Shehata presented the organization’s extensive work on legal reform, capacity building and rights protection in response to HIV/AIDS in the country.
“Significant progress has been achieved since 2011, including reducing the severity of HIV-related stigma and increasing the percentage of cases presented to the Tunisian judiciary that result in favorable rulings for people living with HIV,” said Shehata. “While this work has positively impacted many, we recognize there is still progress to be made. Events like today demonstrate the strong collective commitment in Tunisia to ensure access to justice, empowerment, and health for all.”
The conference concluded with a set of recommendations for meaningful action to promote the rights of vulnerable populations affected by HIV, including migrants and drug users, and marked an important step towards ensuring the protection of rights and access to legal services in Tunisia for those who need it most.