HIV and Human Rights in Asia
From January 24-28, 2011, Prof. Gruskin was invited by RTI International's Asia HIV Program to work with key partners and make a series of presentations on HIV and human rights in Asia. RTI organized the HIV and Human Rights Week in Bangkok, Thailand, which began with a two-day workshop to develop recommendations on incorporating a rights-based approach into Thailand's new national HIV strategic plan for 2012–2016, which will replace the current National Plan for Strategic and Integrated HIV and AIDS Prevention and Alleviation 2007–2011. Prof. Gruskin gave the keynote presentation on how to effectively integrate human rights into HIV programming. She emphasized that national universal access targets should be informed by human rights and gender perspectives instead of total numbers alone, saying that this approach "emphasizes not only numbers but also who is gaining access (and who is not), how they are gaining access, and over what period of time." In addition, Prof. Gruskin gave the keynote presentation, entitled "Legal and policy support for key populations living with and affected by HIV: Results from the UNGASS National Policy Composite Index (NCPI) and implications for work going forward," at a moderated discussion on HIV, human rights and the law in Asia later that week bringing together government officials, donors and civil society partners working in the region. For more information, please visit the RTI International website.
Launch of the Human Rights Based Approach to Programming Manual
On December 9, 2010, on the eve of Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually on December 10th, UNFPA and PIHHR launched the Human Rights Based Approach to Programming Manual at the United Nations in New York. The Manual aims to: 1) Provide practical tools for designing and implementing a human rights-based approach; 2) Link human rights and programming for population and development, sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and emergency responses; 3) Illustrate the benefits of using a human rights-based approach; and 4) Provide guidance to advocate for human rights in difficult contexts. To download a copy of the Manual, click here.
Presentation on Human Rights and Health Systems
On November 16, 2010, Prof. Gruskin chaired a session on ‘Human Rights and Health Systems – A Discussion” at the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Montreux, Switzerland. Current debates on health systems’ strengthening and health systems’ frameworks have so far paid limited explicit attention to the inclusion of human rights concepts or methods. Professor Gruskin invited researchers working on human rights approaches to health systems with academics and policymakers currently developing and implementing key frameworks of health systems and health systems strengthening. The aim of the session was to begin a dialogue between those engaged in existing thinking and analysis of the role for human rights based approaches to health systems and academics and implementers of health systems and health systems strengthening. For more information on the session, please view the abstract by clicking here. For more information on the Symposium, click here.
Presentation on the General Comment on the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health
On November 15, 2010 in Geneva, Prof. Gruskin presented on the “Obligations of States parties in guaranteeing the right to sexual and reproductive health” at the 45th Session of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Day of General Discussion on the General Comment on the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health. Prof. Gruskin supported the articulation of this General Comment and suggested the necessity for grounding it in a non-discrimination framework to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, men, transgender populations and adolescents (whatever their gender). She cautioned against suggesting a minimum package of sexual and reproductive health services in a General Comment as this would go against the approach taken by UN agencies working in sexual and reproductive health. She instead suggested listing out the full sexual and reproductive health package as articulated by the agencies, with specific attention to health services, to the broader health system, and to the lived experience -- in other words the underlying determinants -- of what it takes for a person to realize their sexual and reproductive health. Prof. Gruskin supported the inclusion of progressive realization to ensure that States viewed efforts as a continuum and would be encouraged to keep improving their efforts in this area. Finally, she asked that this process not be rushed, and that adequate time be taken to ensure the most positive outcomes for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people. To view the program for the day’s discussion, click here. A report of the discussion is forthcoming.
Appointment to the Institute of Medicine's Committee to Evaluate PEPFAR
Professor Gruskin recently accepted an appointment to the Institute of Medicine's Committee for the Outcome and Impact Evaluation of Global HIV/AIDS Programs Implemented under the Lantos-Hyde Act of 2008 (PEPFAR), which will conduct an assessment and an evaluation of HIV/AIDS programs implemented under the US Global Leadership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. The Committee's congressionally-mandated tasks include an assessment of the performance of United States-assisted global HIV/AIDS programs and an evaluation of the impact on health of prevention, treatment, and care efforts that are supported by United States funding, including multilateral and bilateral programs involving joint operations. For more information on the committee, click here. For more information on the committee membership, click here.
Health and Human Rights: Reframing the Public Health Agenda
Professor Gruskin spoke at the University of Michigan School of Public Health 2010 Symposium, "Health and Human Rights: Reframing the Public Health Agenda." In addition to exploring the foundational concepts of health and human rights, the school-wide symposium engaged with four thematic areas: the health and human rights of prisoners, human rights in the context of reproductive and sexual health, the right to a clean environment and human rights in the context of complex emergencies. Professor Gruskin presented "Health and Human Rights: Concepts, Practices and Impacts" at the symposium's opening plenary session and also participated in the panel session on reproductive and sexual rights. For additional information, click here.
Neglected Realities: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Abortion in the Context of HIV
Professor Gruskin, Faculty Chair of the Group on Reproductive Health and Rights (GRHR), and Sarah MacCarthy, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Helath and coordinator of GRHR, contributed to the Reproductive Health Reality Check blog. Their contribution on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of HIV-positive women highlights the debates stemming from the Conference on the Pregnancy Intentions of HIV-Positive Women, held earlier this year. To view their posting, click here.
Sex Work in Asia: Health, Agency & Sexuality
Professor Gruskin was a speaker and participant in the conference "Sex Work in Asia: Health, Agency & Sexuality," held at the Harvard University Asia Center October 1-2, 2010. The conference has three primary objectives: 1) to critically examine policy, research and programmatic work on behalf of sex workers in Asia, 2) to expand the evidence base on the relationships between health, agency and sexuality, as they relate to sex work in Asia and 3) to define an evidence-based biosocial agenda for sex work research in Asia. Professor Gruskin's presentation, "Government Regulation of Sex Work: Engaging Human Rights and Legal Frameworks," focused on the legal, public health and human rights arguments related to regulation of sex work and presented relevant legal and policy data for Asia from the reports of countries under the 2008 UNAIDS National Composite Policy Index (NCPI).
UNGASS Enabling Environment Review Meeting
Professor Gruskin attended the Meeting of the UNGASS Enabling Environment Review Steering Group in Toronto, Canada. The Enabling Environment Steering Group, co-chaired by UNDP and ICASO, is tasked with reviewing UNGASS indicators, with a focus on the National Composite Policy Index (NCPI), in order to identify opportunities to strengthen both the indicators and the overall reporting process. At this meeting, the Enabling Environment Steering Group of experts formulated recommendations for UNAIDS focusing on how measurement of the enabling environment within the UNGASS indicator set can be improved.
Maternal Mortality, Morbidity, Human Rights and Accountability
Professor Gruskin attended two meetings on maternal mortality, morbidity and human rights. The first was an international roundtable meeting, 'Maternal Mortality, Human Rights and Accountability,' co-hosted by the Clemens Nathan Research Centre and the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, in association with the Human Rights Centre of Essex University and an Indian NGO, SAHAYOG. Discussion at this roundtable meeting fed into the larger-scale expert meeting on 'Maternal Mortality, Morbidity, Human Rights and Accountability: A Dialogue with Human Rights Bodies' in Geneva, hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the UNFPA. The meeting brought together key representatives of regional and international human rights systems and experts from around the world to discuss the human rights dimensions of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. Professor Gruskin chaired, and gave introductory remarks, for the closing session which focused on the role of civil society, donors, academics, political bodies and U.N. agencies in promoting human rights accountability for maternal mortality and morbidity at the international and regional levels.
Repoliticizing Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights
Professor Gruskin attended “Repoliticizing Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights” in Langkawi, Malaysia. This four-day meeting brought together academics, activists, policymakers, donors and civil society representatives to address the fragmentation of the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as the faltering momentum to fund research and interventions in this area. The primary aims of the meeting were to create a new agenda for the field that will move discussion and research beyond ICPD and the MDGs, to engage with analytical papers on themes of sexual and reproductive health and rights, to forge partnerships with others working in allied areas (e.g., health, education and development), and to devise ways to reinvigorate interest in sexual and reproductive health and rights. The meeting’s statement of purpose can be accessed here, while the final meeting report can be accessed here.
PIHHR at the International AIDS Conference 2010
The Program on International Health and Human Rights will be attending the 23rd International AIDS Conference in Vienna this July 18-23. The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for policymakers, persons living with HIV, and other individuals and organizations committed to ending the global AIDS pandemic. The Program will be presenting many of its most recent projects during the conference, as well as participating in multiple panel sessions and discussions. Click here to access abstracts, posters and presentations.
Manual on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming Recently Published
In collaboration with UNFPA, PIHHR has developed and field-tested training materials for application of a culturally sensitive, gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to programming, with a focus on population and development, reproductive health, and gender. Materials available for download include a training manual, powerpoints, exercises,as well as a facilitators guide. For more information, click here.
Conference on Diverse Sexualities, Disparate Laws: Sexual Minorities, the State and International Law
Professor Gruskin recently spoke on a panel of experts at the 5th Annual Harvard Lambda Legal Advocacy Conference on Diverse Sexualities, Disparate Laws: Sexual Minorities, the State and International Law at the Harvard Law School. As part of the panel on Criminalizing Sexuality: Sodomy Laws and the Regulation of Mores, her presentation on the government regulation of sex and sexuality raised questions about the public health and human rights impacts of bad law, drawing on results from the 2008 UNGASS reporting round to illustrate dissonance between international standards and national law and policies. For more information, click here.
Interdisciplinary Conference on the Pregnancy Intentions of HIV-Positive Women
The Program on International Health and Human Rights recently hosted a two-day conference at the Harvard School of Public Health on "The Pregnancy Intentions of HIV-Positive Women: Forwarding the Research Agenda" which considered the concerns of HIV-positive women before and during pregnancy highlighting issues of stigma and discrimination, knowledge and disclosure of HIV status, access to treatment and services, relationship dynamics and social status, as well as the legal and policy context. The conference was followed by a half-day research symposium. With the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Group on Reproductive Health and Rights at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the conference convened more than fifty experts in public health, biomedical and social science, health service delivery, law, public policy and advocacy, making this an important meeting bridging across disciplines and experience. Results of the meeting will be made available in time for the International AIDS Conference in July 2010 with a particular focus on health systems capacity and enhancement, and community/gender empowerment. To view a recent blog posting on this substance of this conference by Professor Gruskin and Sarah MacCarthy, click here.
Evaluating the Impact of Integrating Legal Support and Health Care in Kenya
In March Program Manager Zyde Raad traveled to Nairobi to work with four organizations-the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), CARE-Kenya, and the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret (LACE)- integrating legal support and health care as a way of advancing the health and human rights of socially marginalized groups. The Program is collaborating with the Open Society Institute, Public Health Program Law and Health Initiative and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa using human rights concepts and methods to support evaluation of these projects. For more information, click here.
Vietnam AIDS Policy and Planning Project, Senior Level Trainings in Hanoi
In January Professor Gruskin helped lead a training of trainers from the Ho Chi Minh Political Academy in Hanoi, Vietnam as a part of the Vietnam AIDS Policy and Planning Project. The training supports ongoing efforts supporting Vietnam's political leaders to put in place effective planning and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for an effective rights-based and multi-sectoral AIDS response, including the contributions of NGOs, civil society and the private sector. The course curriculum has been developed by a team of Boston based faculty from PIHHR, Boston Universitys Center for International Health and Development, Harvard Universitys John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Medical Schools Division of AIDS, and Abt Associates of Cambridge.
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