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The Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH) organized a sensitization workshop on HIV (AIDS) for its staff, on Tuesday, 9th July, 2011. This workshop was organized within the framework of a project that aims to protect human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Organized in collaboration with UNAIDS and the National Program to Fight Against AIDS, this workshop aims to provide CNDH officers with a basic general knowledge on HIV/AIDS and how HIV/AIDS can be linked to human rights. The objective is to make them aware of the role CNDH can play in this regard.

Several points were scheduled during this sensitization workshop: the presentation of the epidemiological situation of HIV/AIDS in the world, the international strategic orientations in the field of human rights and HIV/AIDS, an overview of the epidemiological situation of HIV/AIDS in Morocco, efforts made to fight against AIDS in Morocco and programs carried out by civil society in the Kingdom.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Driss El Yazami, CNDH President, underlined the importance of this training session which will provide CNDH officers with knowledge on the most vulnerable groups and on the prevelance of the virus. He added that CNDH undertakes to protect the rights of these groups and remove the stigma attached to this serious disease.

For his part, Dr. Kamal Alami, President of UNAIDS - Morocco, indicated that this gathering highlights the commitment of Morocco in fighting HIV/ AIDS. He stressed that stigmatizing HIV-infected people is a violation of their rights to dignity. It hampers the efforts made in fighting this disease, he added.

During this workshop, trainers highlighted the sufferings of persons living with AIDS, who fall victim to discrimination and stigma. They asserted that not only does this disease, in which ethical and social factors are intermingled, affect patients’ bodies; it also affects their identity and dignity. As a result, HIV-infected people isolate themselves from society and prevent themselves from the benefits of prevention programs and care that they need.

They further stressed that strengthening human rights in this field can help achieve three main objectives: providing individuals and societies with access to all information related to AIDS, reducing susceptibility to HIV/AIDS infection and mitigating the impact of the disease on HIV-infected people.

The participants identified three relevant human rights-related levels: (1) the right to health care, which includes treatment, right of individuals to be protected against any health abuse, right to benefit from all prevention and treatment related programs; (2) rights related to secrecy (being HIV positive is a part of the private life that ought to be respected); (3) and the right to participation without stigmatization, which is, normally, due to unawareness and inaccurate information about the disease.

CNDH and UNAIDS signed on December 6th, 2010 in Rabat, an agreement to achieve a project that aims to protect human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

This project is in line with CNDH efforts to protect and promote economic, social and cultural rights, mainly the right to health. It is also in line with CNDH contribution to the implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Fight against AIDS (2007-2011).