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World AIDS Day: CNDH stressed the importance of encountering stigmatisation and discrimination against PLHIV

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) took part in the ceremony of celebration of the World AIDS Day (WAD) co-organized by the Ministry of Health and the CNDH on 28 November 2017 in Rabat, Morocco.

The WAD is celebrated each year on the 1 December. This year was held under the theme “Right to health”. This slogan refers to the importance of the right of access to prevention and care services.

This ceremony was an opportunity to advocate fighting against all forms of stigmatisation and discrimination against vulnerable populations and people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV).

Moroccan Constitutional provisions prohibit all forms of discrimination based on any ground, including discriminations based on the state of health. According to Mr. Driss El Yazami, President of the CNDH, this principle should be systematically integrated in public policies.

The CNDH actions are part of the national AIDS response and contribute to developing strategies to reduce factors of vulnerability and unequal access to national health services.

Stigmatisation against PLHIV was one of the main subjects addressed during this event. The Ministry of Health has developed a new national strategic plan to fight AIDS (2017-2021). One of the main purposes of this strategy is to fight against all forms of discrimination and stigmatisation by adopting legislative and regulatory measures and strengthening psychological support, said Mr. Abdelkader Amara, Ministry of Health. It also aims to reduce the new HIV infections by 75% and the mortality caused by HIV infections by 60%, he added.

The HIV and human rights strategy enabled to extend the HIV screening and testing to vulnerable category such as prisoners. In this regards, the CNDH, the Ministry of Health and the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), singed a policy note on respecting human rights and ethics for prisoners living with VIH. This note recommends establishing an information system on HIV testing specific to prisons and in accordance with the national system.

Morocco is the only country in the MENA region with a specific strategy on HIV and human rights. This specific strategy (2013-2017) to which the CNDH contributed focused on encountering stigmatisation and discrimination. It aimed to give an impetus to the national strategy to fight AIDS, said Mr. Alami Kamal, Morocco UNAIDS Director.