Civil Society Representatives Release Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalization

On February 13, 2012, a  group of advocates and academics, primarily from Scandinavian civil society, met in Oslo, Norway and agreed on a ten-point declaration calling for the end of criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and unintentional transmission.

 

On February 13, 2012, a group of advocates and academics, primarily from Scandinavian civil society, met in Oslo, Norway and agreed on a ten-point declaration calling for the end of criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and unintentional transmission.

The declaration outlines key problems with HIV criminalization - including the stigmatizing effect of singling out HIV from other communicable diseases; the potential of HIV-specific laws to deter people from engaging in health care; the absence of a malicious intent requirement in these laws; and their negative impact specifically on women - and includes considerations for limiting the application of the criminal law in HIV-related cases.

The declaration's drafting was prompted by, and timed with, a High Level Policy Consultation on the Science and Law of the Criminalisation of HIV Non-disclosure, Exposure and Transmission, convened on February 14-15, 2012 by the Government of Norway and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The convening provided a forum in which policymakers and other stakeholders could consider relevant scientific, medical, public health and legal research in evaluating current laws and policies regarding the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, and consider alternative approaches. The background paper for this meeting was drafted by CHLP Executive Director Catherine Hanssens, who was rapporteur and a presenter for the High Level Policy Consultation, and Patrick Eba of UNAIDS. 

A copy of the Declaration, which has not been endorsed by UNAIDS or other governmental attendees of the Consultation, can be found here: http://www.hivjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Oslo_declaration.pdf