Last week’s 2015 Social Forum led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for urgent action to facilitate access to medicines. In particular, the functioning of the intellectual property system was put into question. A number of recommendations were drawn by the secretariat after having been identified by participants.
Intellectual property rights are hindering access to medicines by maintaining monopolies and high prices, according to speakers at an annual United Nations forum on human rights last week. Flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organization intellectual property agreement are hampered by political and economical pressure, they said, and a new system should be devised for pharmaceutical products.
THE CONFESSIONS of the 40-year-old man who went on a "deliberate spree to infect as many other people as possible" in 2002 (The Namibian, 14 January 2015) sparked a series of media reports in the past few weeks, which featured calls from the public for the enactment of an HIV-specific crime of intentional transmission of HIV.
The push to apply criminal law to HIV exposure and transmission is often driven by the wish to respond to serious concerns about the ongoing spread of HIV, coupled by what is perceived to be a failure of existing HIV prevention efforts.
This week, the Law Commission – which reviews areas of the law in England and Wales that have become unduly complicated, outdated or unfair – will conclude its scoping consultation of the reform the Offences Against The Person Act, the law that is currently used to prosecute people living with HIV (and occasionally other sexually transmitted infections; one each so far for gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and genital herpes) for ‘reckless’ or ‘intentional’ transmission, as grievous bodily harm.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday reaffirmed his opposition to laws that criminalize homosexuality.
"I staunchly oppose the criminalization of homosexuality," said Ban during an event in the Indian capital of New Delhi that marked the 70th anniversary of the U.N.'s founding. "I speak out because laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination."