IHR Clinic Hosts TB & Human Rights Judicial Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

On June 24 and 25 the International Human Rights Clinic, in partnership with KELIN (Kenya), the Stop TB Partnership and the Judicial Training Institute of Kenya, hosted a judicial workshop titled Tuberculosis, Human Rights and the Law in Nairobi, Kenya. Building on a similar meeting held in New Delhi, India in 2015, the workshop brought together over 70 participants, including judges from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, India, Botswana, and Australia, as well as TB survivors, anthropologists, and legal, medical and public health experts from around the world. The meeting was the first judicial workshop held on TB and human rights in Africa. Retired Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia, Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and Justice Key Dingake of the High Court of Botswana were featured speakers. Brian Citro, Allan Maleche, Evan Lyon, Kiran Pandey and Mihir Mankad were the lead organizers of the meeting.

The workshop provided an opportunity for the sensitization of judicial officers about the relationship between TB, human rights and the law, with a focus on international law and domestic jurisprudence from around the world. It provided an avenue for judges to be informed on the biomedical, social and economic aspects of the TB epidemic in the region. In his closing reflections, Justice Key Dingake captured the spirit of the meeting and emphasized the importance of incorporating human rights into the fight against TB:

“We are much more powerful and effective when we act together—physicians, nurses, lawyers, social workers, society activists and judges—acting on the basis of scientific evidence having the heart, brain, and courage.  Only when we act together with human rights as our tool of trade can we succeed to tear down the mighty walls of injustice and prejudice.”

Participants adopted the draft strategy dubbed the Nairobi Strategy, which seeks to ensure that a human rights-based approach to TB is integrated into national and global policies to eliminate TB and treat those who suffer from it now.