PANCAP’s draft Regional Anti-Discrimination Model Policy being refined

Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 15TH 2012 (CUOPM) – PANCAP draft Regional Anti-Discrimination Model Policy is being refined.

The Region’s Chief Parliamentary Counsel, PANCAP Coordinating Unit Director, Mrs. Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, is in Trinidad and Tobago at a four-day meeting to discuss issues of human rights that impact people living with HIV and AIDS.

The denial of these rights because of discrimination has compelled the regional partnership “to adopt a more inclusive approach to ending discrimination, not just on the basis of HIV status but on wider grounds, including gender, disability and sexual orientation,” she said.

In this context, “this PANCAP Model Legislation is the best of the interface between public health and human rights.”

In drawing attention to the consensual process of the drafting of the model legislation which the Director said was not always easy, she noted that its development involved some of the best legal minds in the field of Human Rights and Discrimination across the Region.

She called on representatives of the CARICOM States and Associated Members to advance the anti-discrimination agenda in the Region, indicating that the

Model Policy is “an aspirational goal and a standard that we would wish national legislation to reach. You in this room will be key to how this legislation is translated at the national level and your countries’ version of the legislation will reflect your own national consensus and engagements.”

A snapshot of the HIV related legal environment in the Caribbean as of 2010,indicated:

56%of countries report no legal protection against HIV-related discrimination

75%of countries report laws and regulations that present obstacles to HIV services for vulnerable population groups

69%of countries criminalise same sex activities among consenting adults.

81% of countries criminalise some aspects of sex work

19%of countries have HIV-related travel restrictions

19%of countries have HIV-specific laws that criminalise HIV transmission (Source:KS111 2010)

PANCAP is a regional partnership established by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2001 to respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. Over the years, it has advocated for strengthening the human rights agenda in HIV, including developing model anti -discrimination legislation.

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