Rathi Ramanathan, NGO Delegate for Asia and the Pacific, supports the Delegation’s recommendation for access to legal services for people to know their rights around HIV.
In many countries sex workers face social marginalization and stigma that are barriers to universal access which are exacerbated by lack of recognition as people before the law thereby prevents them from accessing justice. As a result they face violence, arrest, detention, deportation and ‘raid and rescue’ with no recourse for protection as law enforcement officers.
There is a serious lack of access to legal services for sex workers, in Cambodia a pilot legal service has been set up which focuses on educating and arming sex workers through legal literacy programmes and we ask for more resourcing to scale up and ensure similar services are provided across regions. In line with the NGO report recommendation we would like to encourage the strengthening of legal literacy programmes, specifically increasing funding to NGOs that provide legal aid programmes and support in interpreting law and providing support to people living with HIV.
We thank the Commissions on the Global Commission on HIV and Law for their untiring work and look forward to their recommendations in February.
We also ask PCB Member States, Civil Society and Cosponsors to report once a biennium on progress in implementing the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.