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Thousands Rally in Mexico City and Call for Human Rights Protections in Global AIDS Response
Date:8/7/2008

c violence or even recognize the crime of marital rape. This leaves women vulnerable to HIV infection from their spouses and intimate partners. Preventing HIV in these situations is as much a legal challenge as a public health one, experts say.

The rally built on commitments made by governments at a high-level meeting on AIDS held at the United Nations in June. At the meeting, representatives from UN member states and civil society organizations highlighted the need for more effective programming directed to populations that are highly vulnerable to the disease and most in need of human rights protection.

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and now Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization Initiative, headlined the event. Robinson attributed the slow progress against the HIV epidemic to the lack of urgency given to human rights concerns.

"The question we have to ask is, 'Why have we not made more progress if we know what steps are needed to roll back the tide?' The answer lies in the lack of demonstrated commitment to secure human rights protection for people living with, affected by, or vulnerable to HIV and AIDS," said Robinson. "Most countries have yet to implement prevention programs for populations most at risk."

In addition to Piot, Robinson, Kazatchkine, Cohen, and Alvarez Icaza, speakers at today's rally included Anand Grover, newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and Director of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit in India; Jeffrey O'Malley, Director of UNDP's HIV/AIDS Group and founder and former Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance; Nonkosi Khomalo, chairperson of the South African Treatment Action Campaign (TAC); Carmen Tarradas, representative of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW); Jose Gerardo Cabrera Resendiz, Executive Director of the Mexican Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS; and Craig McCl
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SOURCE Open Society Institute
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