IHR Clinic Leads Effort to Incorporate Human Rights into New Global Plan to Stop TB

IHR Clinic Leads Effort to Incorporate Human Rights into New Global Plan to Stop TB

August 19, 2015

The IHR Clinic, in coordination with the Treatment Action Group, Aids & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, the Lawyers Collective, the Kenya Ethical and Legal Issue Network for HIV & AIDS, and the Global Coalition of TB Activists, submitted a letter to the Stop TB Partnership last week, calling on the Partnership to more fully integrate a human rights-based approach into its Global Plan To Stop TB 2016-2020.  Each year, 9 million people develop TB and 1.5 million die from the disease, despite the fact that it is curable. The letter is available here.

The letter urges the committee to look to six international human rights instruments that establish legal rights for people with TB. The instruments named include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These instruments place legally binding obligations on states to protect the human rights of people living with TB. These rights include, among others, the right to good quality testing and treatment, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to privacy, and the rights to food, housing, and water and sanitation.

The letter proposes specific ways in which the Global Plan can integrate these human rights into the center of its strategy. These include to:

  • Encourage and provide technical support for relevant countries to request funding for human rights-based approaches to TB in concept notes submitted to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria;
  • Support human rights-based advocacy in relevant countries to remove legal barriers to TB prevention, treatment, and care services and to protect the rights of people with TB;
  • Empower TB-affected communities to exercise their right to participate in decision-making processes through capacity building, treatment literacy, and training; and
  • Train TB organizations and advocates in the use of human rights impact assessment tools to anticipate and respond to the potential human rights impacts of government, trade, and corporate polices related to TB.

The IHR Clinic and its partners have offered to act as a human rights resource for the Stop TB Partnership and expect the letter to be the beginning of a productive process toward protecting and promoting the rights of people with TB.