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The protection of human rights in the context of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), C.H.R. res. 1997/33, ESCOR Supp. (No. 3) at 115, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1997/33 (1997).



Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/33

The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling its resolution 1996/43 of 19 April 1996 and other relevant resolutions and decisions adopted by organizations of the United Nations system, as well as by other competent forums,

Emphasizing, in view of the continuing challenges presented by HIV/AIDS, the need for intensified efforts to ensure universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, to reduce vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and to prevent HIV/AIDS-related discrimination and stigma,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the Second International Consultation on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights (E/CN.4/1997/37), which presents the outcome of the Consultation, including the Guidelines recommended by the expert participants for States on the promotion and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in the context of HIV/AIDS, and strategies for their dissemination and implementation,

1. Invites all States to consider the Guidelines recommended by the experts who participated in the Second International Consultation on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, as contained in document E/CN.4/1997/37 and summarized in the annex to the present resolution;

2. Calls upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), its co-sponsors and other partners to provide technical cooperation to States, upon the request of Governments when required, from within existing resources, for the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to solicit the opinion of Governments, specialized agencies and international and non-governmental organizations and to prepare for consideration by the Commission at its fifty-fifth session a progress report on the follow-up to the present resolution.


Guideline 1: States should establish an effective national framework for their response to HIV/AIDS which ensures a coordinated, participatory, transparent and accountable approach, integrating HIV/AIDS policy and programme responsibilities across all branches of government.

Guideline 2: States should ensure, through political and financial support, that community consultation occurs in all phases of HIV/AIDS policy design, programme implementation and evaluation and that community organizations are enabled to carry out their activities, including in the field of ethics, law and human rights, effectively.

Guideline 3: States should review and reform public health laws to ensure that they adequately address public health issues raised by HIV/AIDS, that their provisions applicable to casually transmitted diseases are not inappropriately applied to HIV/AIDS and that they are consistent with international human rights obligations.

Guideline 4: States should review and reform criminal laws and correctional systems to ensure that they are consistent with international human rights obligations and are not misused in the context of HIV/AIDS or targeted against vulnerable groups.

Guideline 5: States should enact or strengthen anti-discrimination and other protective laws that protect vulnerable groups, people living with HIV/AIDS and people with disabilities from discrimination in both the public and private sectors, ensure privacy and confidentiality and ethics in research involving human subjects, emphasize education and conciliation, and provide for speedy and effective administrative and civil remedies.

Guideline 6: States should enact legislation to provide for the regulation of HIV-related goods, services and information, so as to ensure widespread availability of qualitative prevention measures and services, adequate HIV prevention and care information and safe and effective medication at an affordable price.

Guideline 7: States should implement and support legal support services that will educate people affected by HIV/AIDS about their rights, provide free legal services to enforce those rights, develop expertise on HIV-related legal issues and utilize means of protection in addition to the courts, such as offices of ministries of justice, ombudsmen, health complaint units and human rights commissions.

Guideline 8: States, in collaboration with and through the community, should promote a supportive and enabling environment for women, children and other vulnerable groups by addressing underlying prejudices and inequalities through community dialogue, specially designed social and health services and support to community groups.

Guideline 9: States should promote the wide and ongoing distribution of creative education, training and media programmes explicitly designed to change attitudes of discrimination and stigmatization associated with HIV/AIDS to understanding and acceptance.

Guideline 10: States should ensure that government and private sectors develop codes of conduct regarding HIV/AIDS issues that translate human rights principles into codes of professional responsibility and practice, with accompanying mechanisms to implement and enforce those codes.

Guideline 11: States should ensure monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to guarantee the protection of HIV-related human rights, including those of people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and communities.

Guideline 12: States should cooperate through all relevant programmes and agencies of the United Nations system, including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, to share knowledge and experience concerning HIV-related human rights issues and should ensure effective mechanisms to protect human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS at the international level.

57th meeting
11 April 1997

[Adopted without a vote. See chap. IX.]

© Copyright 1997
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland 

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