14 May 2019 I Geneva, Switzerland – Yesterday the Declaration of the Rights of People Affected by TB was historically launched by TBpeople, in partnership with the Stop TB Partnership and together with the three civil society delegations (Communities, Developing Country NGO and Developed Country) to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at an event in Geneva.
The event was attended by TB survivors, human rights experts and global health leaders, including Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The launch of the Declaration is a significant step in recognizing the urgent need to adopt a human rights-based approach to TB and fund human rights-based interventions that overcome barriers to universal access. The Declaration aims at empowering people affected by TB to know and claim their human rights. It is grounded in international human rights law, built upon States’ existing human rights obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other legally binding treaties. The Declaration demands recognition and respect for these rights for people affected by TB, including the rights to life, health, privacy, liberty and to be free from discrimination.
“The protection and enforcement of human rights for people affected by TB are essential to tackle stigma and discrimination in all its hidden forms and uphold human dignity for all who have been affected by TB,” said Rhea Lobo, TB survivor and TBpeople member.
The International Declaration on the Rights of People Affected by Tuberculosis is a community-led and community-driven initiative to demand recognition and respect for the human rights of people affected by TB. The development of the Declaration was supported by the Stop TB Partnership with funding from USAID. It is also an important contribution to understanding the relationship between TB and human rights and the commitments made during the UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB last year.
“This is the moment in which the TB community is strongly committed to protect and promote the rights of people with TB and agreed to not accept anything less from countries if we are to achieve the UNHLM Political Declaration on TB targets. However, there is a long way to go and I call on all donors, starting with the Global Fund, and bilateral donors, to support the operationalizing of this critical document,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.
While the “rhetoric of rights” has slowly begun to permeate the global TB response, the meaning and content of a rights-based response is still largely unknown or misunderstood. This Declaration paves the way for a clear and actionable understanding of the critical role that respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights must play in the TB response.
“We know that TB flourishes in communities that are marginalized and unjustly criminalized. Protecting the rights of people affected by TB is a legal & moral imperative. That’s why we see universal health coverage as the best link with that,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.
Also speaking at the event were Mauro Guarinieri – TBpeople, Maurine Murenga – Communities Delegation / TBpeople, Dr. Edona Deva – Developing Country NGO Delegation, Mike Podmore – Developed Country NGO Delegation, Dr. Marijke Wijnroks and John Simon – Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr. Shannon Hader – UNAIDS, Eric Fleutelot – Initiative 5% Expertise France, Peggy Hicks – OHCHR, Thoko Nkhoma – TBpeople, Prof. Brian Citro – Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Allan Maleche – Developing Country NGO Delegation, Oxana Rucsineaunu – TBpeople and Alberto Colorado – Americas TB Coalition.
Justice Edwin Cameron from the Constitutional Court of South Africa sent a video message which can be viewed HERE.
The Stop TB Partnership Announcement -14 May 2019