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Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

SacBee is reporting that CA’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and has been struck down. Go to:
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/04/2936484/decision-in-prop-8-case-set-for.html

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December 1st, The World Aids Day, as an event, was conceived in 1988. While it is a stand-alone event, it is also part of the 16 days Campaign for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Infection is often a component of violence done to women and children, and is a human rights issue. The UNAIDS Webpage, a portal to a wealth of information on HIV/AIDS, has the following announcement:

With “Universal Access and Human Rights” being the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, the key slogans are:

* I am accepted.

* I am safe.

* I am getting treatment.

* I am well.

* I am living my rights.

* Everyone deserves to live their rights.

* Right to Live.

* Right to Health.

* Access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a critical part of human rights.

Among a series of events, tonight in New York the following ceremony will be held:

UNAIDS – World AIDS Day – “Lights for Rights”

When: Tuesday, December 1 – 6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (EST)

Where: Washington Square Park, New York City (5th Avenue at Washington Square Park North)

A stage will be set up between the arch and the fountain.

[The lights on the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch in New York City will be turned off during the event to remember those lost to AIDS and to symbolize how HIV stigma drives people with HIV into the shadows. After a brief period of darkness, the lights will turned back on to emphasize need to shine the light on human rights for those living with HIV/AIDS around the globe. Floodlights on the Empire State Building, clearly visible through the arch, will also be turned off and turned back on at the same time….]

Almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic and 25 million have died. While the trend line of new infections has started to turn, new infections worldwide still outstrip treatment. For every two people beginning treatment, five new cases of infection are ascertained.

As to children, 14 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are now orphaned. Only 37% of infected children in low and middle-income countries are receiving treatment.

The UNAIDS  knowledge center link HERE, is a wonderful overview of The UN’s program on HIV/AIDS.

Clicking on the UNAIDS link entitled AIDS Epidemic Update 2009, a report and fact sheet, as well as an outlook for 2010, that are very informative.

In addition, there is a page with “Fast facts about HIV”.

In California, a conference was held today on the budget cuts that are affecting the funding for AIDS programs, including California’s “AIDS Drug Assistance Program” (ADAP). Since these budget cuts will literally determine who lives and who does not, continuation of funding is critically important for at least 30,000 patients. At the same time concern over the rising cost of drugs is creating anger. Between 2000-2008 drug costs under this program raised 165%, yet only increased patient numbers by 49%. See the report below:

http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/b48023/california%E2%80%99s-aids-drug-cuts-%E2%80%98life-or-death%E2%80%99-for-patients

California’s Office of Aids (COA), responsible for coordinating state programs, service and Activities relating to HIV/AIDS,

has a webpage devoted to HIV/AIDS, HERE.

Although they state that they are in the process of converting their statistics to comply with CDC requirements, they do have some statistics through April. According to them, throughout the country, HIV was not counted with AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic. Those changes are being made now?!? In any event, a pdf download indicates that while confidential AIDS Case reporting by name began in 1983, reporting procedures have changed over time. Code name only reporting, for HIV, enjoyed a brief period from 2002-2006. HIV surveillance reporting began in 2005, and HIV name reporting in 2006.

AIDS in California is continuing to climb, with 153,901 cases reported. HIV cases appear to be flattening at 41,1555, or 36,412 depending on which reporting method was used. One is loath to make assumptions on this figure however, since, rather than an actual flattening is could reflect our current recession and reflect reduced medical resources available to individuals.

Judging by the COA’s maps, HIV/AIDS is still a disease of the cities, with urban counties, like Los Angeles highest, then San Diego and San Francisco, then Alameda and Sacramento reporting the highest numbers for the 2009 year through April. Again, however, this data might also reflect better facilities and reporting methods.

It is still primarily a disease of white and black men/adolescents, although the 13,230 women/adolescents who were reported probably find cold comfort in this. Of that figure 6,273 reported infection due to sex with men. 669 pediatric cases and 400 pediatric deaths were reported.

In light of our current economy, and without health reform, it seems clear many more will suffer.  In Senate bill H.R. 3590, I found seven occurrences where the bill discusses HIV/AIDS. All but one of them refer to education and training. The other refers to research. So I am unclear at this point exactly where the money will come from that will actually help support state programs for drugs, or supplant them. Is HIV/AIDS one of those pre-existing conditions that will be folded into the entire program? The upcoming Senate debate will certainly be interesting in this regard.

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Last week I found this older item in the BBC news. I had thought to do a little post around it. I would ask, what is religion, and how is it defined? Is it defined as Abrahamic, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Iranian, Kurdish, Western, Folk or Far Eastern? Or do we take the religious edifice we have constructed, break it into shards, pick up one to admire and kick at the rest?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8327636.stm

After asking those questions, (more…)

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Associated Press reports that the United States won her first seat on the UN Human Rights Council yesterday HERE. As you may remember, the USA was required to produce a pledge to the Council, which the ACLU felt left several human rights points obscure. The Pledge can be found in the linked ACLU page on the recent blog HERE.

In case you forgot the history of the Council, Wiki has a brief chronology HERE.

When SOS Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the US intent to seek a seat in March of this year, it reversed a Bush policy decision to shun the Council over membership of other nations who were considered to be repressive.  However, as she and US Ambassador Susan Rice have noted, the decision is part of “new era of engagement”.

The whole thing gets back to whether it’s better to work in the system in hopes of changing it, or outside of it.  Israel, one of the nations who, along with the US, first opposed the Council’s formation, continues to object to participation. 

Even so, the Council is purely advisory to the UN and has no authority to initiate actions on it’s own.

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Do we have a disconnect?

At the end of March, SOS Hillary Rodham Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice announced to the United Nations that the US would seek a seat on the UN’s Human Right’s Council. Candidates to the Council will be chosen May 12th. As part of the process, candidates are required to produce a pledge. That pledge has now been published and is available to the public by following the links HERE.

The ACLU has evaluated the pledge HERE, and has determined that several points have been left obscure. Key among these is a lack of discussion on: fair trial standards, torture and detention, and government official accountability.

While the above points of contention, and another HERE, are much on our mind, it remains to be seen how they will affect our bid to UN’s Human Rights Council.  In any event, it’s clear that the Obama administration has set upon a position. If we want to fix our recent past, it does not appear that it will be through the pronouncements of the  executive or legislative branch of government.

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Cambodian human rights leader and parliamentarian is in imminent peril of jail and silencing. You can speak for her! Make a call today!

See Alegre’s site, HERE.

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-UPDATE-

Anyone want to place a bet that the Senate will hold passing of these bills until the new Prez can sign them?  Read Heidi Li’s post HERE. Then tell me I’m wrong. With Brazille on the the Editorial Staff of MS, the upcoming edition looks pretty well planned to stick another finger in someone’s eye. Any of our Democratic candidates, had they become president, would have signed these bills into acts. (more…)

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