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AIDS-Free World to host Legal Consultation Center at International AIDS Conference in Durban

Free of charge during the 2016 International AIDS Conference, July 18-22, 2016
Global Village, Booth #530

If you are living with or affected by HIV and your rights have been violated, you will probably need professional assistance to engage with the legal system. But when an informal discussion—just to talk with a lawyer who can help you to understand your options—costs more than you can afford to pay, justice may be out of reach.

Increasingly, countries have laws that should protect all citizens from unjust treatment—whether in school, at work, or in their interactions with public institutions. But for people living with HIV, getting justice isn’t always so straightforward.

All over the world, HIV disproportionately affects people who are already marginalized and discriminated against. Women and girls, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community are denied full, equal rights in every society. Contracting HIV compounds the risk that their rights will be violated.

The impact of HIV is also felt acutely by others who confront discrimination—from indigenous people to sex workers, injection drug users and prisoners. For a broad range of men and women, even beginning to engage with the legal system can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

This is why AIDS-Free World is bringing its Legal Consultation Center to the 2016 International AIDS Conference. For the entire week of the conference, AIDS-Free World will have a rotating roster of expert international lawyers at its booth in the Global Village. Delegates and members of the public can come to the booth and talk face-to-face with a lawyer, free of charge.

How do I go about engaging with the legal system? What are some of the resources available to me in my home country? These are some of the questions that AIDS-Free World’s volunteer lawyers can help to answer.

You don’t have to be a person living with HIV to talk to one of the lawyers. You might be an advocate for others, a healthcare worker, or a friend or relative of a person facing a difficult HIV-related challenge. Come to the AIDS-Free World booth and discuss your questions about HIV and the law from an expert lawyer, at no charge.

We are grateful to lawyers from the following organizations for making the Legal Consultation Center possible:

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
— Cécile Kazatchkine and Richard Elliott
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
— Svend Robinson
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations — Mary Ann Torres
International Development Law Organization — Ahmed Shehata
KELIN — Allan Achesa Maleche and Tabitha Griffith Saoyo
Legal Resources Centre — Emma Broster and Sharita Samuel
O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law — Sean Bland
Open Society Foundations — Gabriela Barros de Luca and Naomi Burke-Shyne
Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa — Emmanuel Kamonyo Sibomana
ProBono.org — Shamika Dwarika
SECTION27 — John Stephens
Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School — Tamar Ezer
Soros Foundation–Kyrgyzstan — Ilimbek Sadykov
Southern Africa Litigation Centre — Annabel Raw
Stollery Charitable Foundation — Douglas Stollery
Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS — Dora Kiconco Musinguzi
United Nations Development — Mandeep Dhaliwal and Tenu Avafia
University of KwaZulu-Natal — Willene Holness
Webber Wentzel — Ayanda Ngubo
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — Elizabeth Mangenje and Tinashe Mundawarar

AIDS-Free World last ran the Legal Consultation Center at the 2008 International AIDS Conference, where it was well attended. More than 20 lawyers responded to a broad range of legal questions throughout the week of the conference.