World AIDS Day & International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

This past weekend, December 1 and 2, observed World AIDS Day (December 1) and the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (December 2).

World AIDS Day
Most people believe AIDS is not a violation of human rights, but it is. In 2001, the United Nations Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution, which stated the “right to the highest attainable standard of health includes access to antiretroviral therapy for HIV.”

A 2006 report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the “International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights,” stated that women accounted half of those living with HIV, young women having the quickest rate of infection, and nearly 14 million children orphaned by AIDS.

The report also said, “Vulnerability to HIV infection and to its impact feeds on violations of human rights, including discrimination against women and violations which create and sustain poverty. In turn, HIV begets human rights violations, such as further discrimination, and violence.”

According to a new report by UNAIDS, new HIV infections have dropped by more than 50 percent across 25 countries, with the biggest drop occurring in children. The report also said there were fewer AIDS-related deaths because antiretroviral therapy is saving lives, with a 63 percent global increase in people accessing treatment during the last 24 months.

At Human Rights Initiative, we work with two area organizations, the Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Arms, to ensure our HIV clients that they are connected to resources that can help them monitor their health and assist them with obtaining antiviral medicine.

Please click here to learn more about the UNAIDS Getting to Zero program, which aims to achieve “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery marks the date the United Nations’ General Assembly adopted the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others in 1949. The day focuses on eliminating contemporary forms of slavery, including human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labor, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of child soldiers.

Three of the main forms of slavery are forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking. A contemporary form of forced labor is migrant workers, who according to the UN, “have been trafficked for economic exploitation of every kind in the world economy.” Child labor is another form of modern slavery. UNICEF said one out-of-every six children works and is used for economic exploitation, which is a direct violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Perhaps the greatest form of modern slavery is human trafficking, which, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, affects people across the globe. A report by UN Office of Drugs and Crime found that 79 percent of humans who are trafficked are used for sexual exploitation.

A recent report by the International Labor Organization found that roughly 21 million people are held in modern day slavery, with more than a quarter of the victims being children. The UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery said, “Slavery is a complex and global phenomenon. Its elimination requires addressing the root causes, including poverty, class polarization, racial discrimination, gender inequalities, exclusion and/or illiteracy.”

At HRI we help human trafficking victims, who have been smuggled into the U.S. as forced laborers or prostitutes, obtain non-immigrant T-Visas, which allows victims to stay in the U.S. and assist in the investigation or prosecution of their abusers.

Please click here to read how you can help abolish modern slavery.

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