Links between human rights, gender equality, legal and policy frameworks

  • Critical Enablers
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  • Links between human rights, gender equality, legal and policy frameworks

Understanding the links between human rights, gender equality, legal and policy frameworks and HIV, TB and malaria

There is growing evidence of the unique and inter-related ways in which the legal and policy environment, gender equality and human rights impact on HIV, TB and malaria.

Where people live in situations of inequality and are not able to realize their basic human rights, when laws criminalize their identity and conduct and expose them to violence and abuse, they are at risk of becoming marginalized and vulnerable members of society. Marginalization further impacts on their ability to fulfil their rights, including their right to health – it limits their ability to access health information and services, to protect themselves from exposure to diseases and to receive life-saving treatment, care and support. When affected by HIV, TB or malaria, fear of further stigma, discrimination and human rights violations may also compromise people’s willingness and ability to access services to protect their health and to access justice to enforce their rights.

Conversely, where legal frameworks protect human rights and gender equality and promote the rights of all people to access essential health care services without discrimination and fear, people are able to access services to reduce their risks of HIV, TB and malaria.  

This means that effective and sustainable responses to HIV, TB and malaria need to integrate mutually reinforcing interventions and activities to:

  • Identify the ways in which laws, human rights and gender equality make populations vulnerable to HIV, TB and malaria
  • Reduce stigma, discrimination, inequity and violence associated with HIV, TB and malaria and most affected populations
  • Remove human rights and gender-related barriers and create an enabling legal environment that protects and promotes human rights and gender equality and enables access to and use of prevention, treatment and care services, and
  • Include key populations in the governance of  national and local responses.
Guidance: Global Fund - Available Resources and Technical Assistance

It is important to start the development of a Global Fund funding request or other national planning process, with a clear workplan, setting out all the necessary steps and tasks that need to be completed.

Over and above the information in this section of the Toolkit, country stakeholders may also wish to include capacity strengthening activities or technical assistance in their workplans, to strengthen partners’ understanding of critical enablers, to promote meaningful country dialogue that includes the participation of key populations and to support effective planning.

There are various opportunities for accessing resources and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of country partners and to engage key populations, during the Global Fund funding request process, detailed in the Applicant Handbook.

In 2017 twenty selected countries will undertake baseline assessments of human rights-related barriers to services, existing programs to address the barriers, how the barriers could be comprehensively addressed, and the associated cost.

Guidance: UNAIDS Key programmes to reduce stigma & discrimination and promote access to justice in national responses
Since 2012, UNAIDS has advocated seven key programmes that address human rights and gender-related barriers to HIV services. These programmes also serve to strengthen health and community systems. They can also be applied to addressing human rights within TB and malaria responses. They are

(1) stigma and discrimination reduction
(2) training for health care workers on human rights and medical ethics
(3) sensitization of law-makers and law enforcement agents
(4) legal literacy (“know your rights”)
(5) HIV-related legal services
(6) monitoring and reforming laws, regulations and policies
(7) reducing gender inequality, harmful gender norms and gender-based violence
Critical Enablers