Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SADC Parliamentary Forum in collaboration with the SADC Tribunal and the National Assembly of Botswana to hold a workshop to discuss HIV/AIDS

source: Republic of Botswana (22/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 22 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C4) 20/8/09: SADC Parliamentary Forum in collaboration with the SADC Tribunal and the National Assembly of Botswana to hold a workshop to discuss HIV/AIDS related legislation in Gaborone:

The SADC Parliamentary Forum in collaboration with the SADC Tribunal and the National Assembly of Botswana will hold a workshop between 27 and 28 August in Gaborone, Botswana to discuss HIV/AIDS related legislation in the region with a view to establishing consistency and compliance with human rights law and commitments across domestic jurisdiction.

Participants to this workshop will primarily be legal professionals that include judges, magistrates and lawyers as well as key legislators who include the Speaker of the National Assembly Hon Patrick Balopi. The meeting will be officially opened by the Hon Margaret N. Nasha, M.P Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and will be closed by Attorney General, Dr Athaliah Molokomme.

Discussions will revolve around -but will not be limited to - an overview of the HIV/Epidemic and emerging public health concerns; the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Model law and the extent to which it is consistent or in conflict with national laws; challenges in ensuring a rights-based approach in the war against HIV/AIDS; and case law on HIV/AIDS on rights of marginalized populations; disclosure of status; forced sterilization and mother-to-child transmission.

The relevance of the Model Law as well as contentious provisions in bills and laws being proposed in various parts of the region will also come up for debate.

At the 24th Plenary Assembly session of the Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, 20th - 27th November 2008, 14 Presiding Officers and 59 Members of Parliament representing the parliaments of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe unanimously adopted the Regional Model Law on HIV.

The Model Legislation is aimed at assisting member states - in particular policy makers and legislative drafters to address all the relevant areas in need of legislative reform without usurping the authority of national legislatures. An important benefit of the Model law is that it builds on the collective experiences of other legislatures, providing a pool of wisdom from which a particular legislature may select and adapt provisions to suit its own circumstances and needs.

The specific goals of the workshop are to:

* Discuss the various legal issues that surround the fight against HIV/AIDS in the SADC region, including reference to current national laws that conflict with human rights provisions and effective evidence-based HIV measures;

* Examine the role of the Model Law as a regional 'soft law', in terms of both domestic legislative adoption and regional jurisprudence, especially with respect to judicial decision making by the SADC Tribunal;

* Consider strategic alliances between legal/judicial actors and state level legislators in advancing domestic adoption of the Model Law in a form relevant to each state's existing legislative framework, including reference to a direct engagement by judicial/legal actors with Parliamentary Committees;

* Consider more effective linkages towards this end between SADC PF , Parliamentary Committees, SADC and judicial/legal actors; and

* Identify actions that may strengthen the engagement of legal professionals in the fight against HIV/AIDS in collaboration with parliamentarians and civil society.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Boemo Mandu Sekgoma, HIV and AIDS Policy Advisor
Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum SADC House
Parliament Gardens, Love Street Private Bag 13361 Windhoek, Namibia

Contacts- +264 61 2870010/+264 61 220784 Cell +264 81 214 3770/ +264 81
122 5976 Cell Botswana; +267 72712083 or + 267 72661593 Fax +264 61 254
642/+264 61 247 569

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