Key instruments

NB Declarations and platform for actions do not have the status of law like treaties such as CEDAW. However, governments that have stated their support are supposed to live up to what they contain. Treaty Monitoring Committees do refer to declarations when they are making recommendations to governments.


The LIVING 2008 partnership

The LIVING 2008 partnership held the 12th International Conference for People Living with HIV, LIVING 2008: The Positive Leadership Summit  in Mexico-City, from July 31st to August 1, 2008, just prior to the 17th International AIDS Conference AIDS 2008. The statements of the four Working Groups - Criminalization; Positive Prevention; Access to Treatment, Care and Support; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights - are now available in three languages (English, French and Spanish) on the LIVING 2008 website

2004 - The Glion Call for Action

The Glion Call to Action on Family Planning and HIV / AIDS in Women and Children, 3-5 May 2004. In order to achieve internationally agreed development goals, it is vital that the linkages between reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention and care be addressed. To date, the benefits of the linkages have not been fully realized. United Nations agencies have initiated consultations with a wide range of stakeholders to identify opportunities for strengthening potential synergies between reproductive health and HIV/AIDS efforts. This Glion Call to Action reflects the consensus of one such consultation, which focused on the linkage between family planning (a key component of reproductive health) and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) (a key component of HIV/AIDS programmes). The focus of the Glion Call to Action on preventing HIV among women and children is fully consistent with the parallel need for increased commitment to the health and wellbeing of women themselves. Therefore, the Glion Call to Action rests on the consensus achieved at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and acknowledges the rights of women to decide freely on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, and the need to improve access to services so that couples and individuals can decide freely the number, spacing and timing of their children. In order to ensure that these rights are respected, policies, programmes and interventions must promote gender equality, and give priority to the poor and underserved populations.

2002 – Women and HIV/AIDS: The Barcelona Bill of Rights
The Women at Barcelona/Mujeres Adelante Planning Group, a coalition of individuals committed to advancing the gender and human rights agenda at the International AIDS Conference of July 2002, facilitated the compilation of the document.
The Barcelona Bill of Rights was the first to include positive women in its design and focus and incorporates a range of economic, social, political and specific sexual and reproductive rights. This Bill makes the link between inequality and women’s vulnerability to HIV and highlights elements of rights of particular relevance to HIV positive women.

2001 – United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS: Keeping the Promise: Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
At the 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration on Commitment on HIV/AIDS, heads of State and government committed themselves to ‘enact, strengthen or enforce as appropriate, legislation, regulations and other measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against and to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and freedoms by all people living with HIV/AIDS (para 58). This includes the rights of women and girls. UNGASS does recognise the importance of empowering women, PMTCT, VCTs, the rights of women and sexual and reproductive health, female controlled methods such as microbicides. However, suggested programmes on treatment and prevention for example, are gender neutral, and refer to vulnerable groups, young people, high-risk groups, but not specifically women and girls. The UNGASS monitoring tool is gender blind.
A critical look at the UNGASS indicators (2005)

On the 31 May - 2 June 2006 there was a five-year progress review of UNGASS DoC in New York.
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) guide to getting involved in the review.

2001 – Kampala Declaration on Gender and HIV/AIDS

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Countries, UNAIDS, and UNIFEM co-sponsored a regional conference on Gender and HIV/AIDS from 27-28 November, with participants from the seven IGAD countries together with Comoros, Burundi and Rwanda. The conference adopted the Kampala Declaration, which recommended that HIV/AIDS prevention, care and mitigation programmes must be guided by principles of women's empowerment, gender equality, human rights and participation of communities and women.

2001 - The Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases
In April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, African leaders committed to take all necessary measures to mobilise the required resources for HIV/AIDS, TB and other related infectious diseases. The pledge was made to allocate at least 15 per cent of government expenditure to the improvement of the health sector and to establish a multisectoral response to HIV/AIDS. However, women’s rights are on the whole not covered sufficiently and the articles which do specifically address women's or gender issues, (articles 3, 5, 7, 23 and 24) relate more to HIV negative women in terms of prevention.

2001 – “A Focus on Women” Declaration
Over 130 community women of Uganda attending the Third International Conference on Global Strategies for the Prevention of HIV drafted the declaration and presented it at the conference held on September 9–13, 2001, in Kampala, Uganda. The document, presented by Faith Akiki of the Network of People Living with AIDS, calls for doctors, researchers, governments, and world health organisations to implement PMTCT programs and include women in their treatment plans and to work with grassroots groups on long-term goals that include the economic, social, and political empowerment of women.

2000 – Millennium Development Goals
'The Millennium Development Goals commit the international community to an expanded vision of development, one that promotes human development as the key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries, and recognizes the importance of creating a global partnership for development. The goals have been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress.'

Unfortunately none of the MDGs directly mention the rights of HIV positive women, or sexual and reproductive rights and health or indeed access to HIV treatment and care - all three of which are vital for ensuring the health and well-being of 20 million HIV positive women and girls worldwide. However, we believe that all the MDGs are relevant to the lives of HIV positive women and girls, particularly the goals of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, empowering women and girls, reducing maternal mortality and reducing poverty.

Fulfilling reproductive rights for women affected by HIV: A tool for monitoring achievement of Millennium Development Goals, Ipas, ICW, CHANGE and the Pacific Institute for Women's Health (2004)

Reproductive rights for women affected by HIV/AIDS: A project to monitor Millennium Development Goals 5 and 6 (2005), Ipas, Fundación de Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM) did so in Argentina, the Gender AIDS Forum in South Africa, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) in Lesotho and Swaziland, de Encuentro de la Comunidad, A.C. (PECAC) in Mexico, and Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK)

2000 – Beijing +5
The twenty-third special session of the General Assembly on "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 June to 9 June 2000 and adopted a Political Declaration and outcome document entitled "further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action".

1999 – United Nations International Conference on Population and Development + 5 (ICPD +5)
In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly convened a special session to review progress towards meeting the ICPD goals. After reviewing the topics highlighted in the ICPD Programme of Action, the special session (known as ICPD+5) agreed on a new set of benchmarks in four areas:
1. Education and literacy
2. Reproductive health care and unmet need for contraception
3. Maternal mortality reduction

1995 – Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
The Beijing Platform for Action defined and embodied the concept of sexual rights. ‘The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence’ (paragraph 96).

1994 – Greater Involvement of People Living with or Affected by HIV/AIDS (GIPA) Principle
The Paris Declaration (Paris AIDS Summit - 1 December 1994) that outlines the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) principle upholds the rights to inclusion and strengthening of organisations of people with HIV in all decision-making processes that affect their lives. Meeting HIV-positive people has a significant and profound impact on people’s attitudes to AIDS. By protecting human rights and pro-actively including positive people in the responses to HIV/AIDS, stigma and discrimination are reduced and public health is promoted. The Declaration commits governments to develop and support structures, policies and programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination and break down the barriers of fear and prejudice, by the greater involvement of positive people in the response.
Participation and Policy Making: Our Rights
Participation et Elaboration de Politiques – Nos droits
Participación y Creación de Políticas – Nuestros Derechos

1994 – International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Programme of Action
The ICPD Programme of Action (1994) was the first and most comprehensive international document to embody concepts of reproductive health and rights

1979 – The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
CEDAW is a binding treaty so any countries that have signed up to it are committed to ensure respect for women's and girls' human rights and fundamental freedoms. Although none of these specifically address HIV positive women, HIV positive women have the right not to be discriminated against and therefore are entitled to all the rights that their government has signed up to.

1948 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The UDHR is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, December 10, 1948), outlining a view on basic human rights. While it is not a legally binding document, it served as the foundation for the original two legally-binding UN human rights Covenants, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.