Table 1: HIV, AIDS and the right to life

Table 1: HIV, AIDS and the Right to Life

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Police fail to investigate the murder of a person living with HIV.
  • Government places unjustified legal restrictions on access to life-saving HIV-prevention or treatment measures.
  • Government imposes a death sentence for intentional transmission of HIV.
  • Woman is denied access to post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV following rape.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
ICCPR 6(1) Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. HRC General Comment 6: Explaining that Art. 6 of the ICCPR creates positive obligations on States to protect life, and that “the Committee considers that it would be desirable for States parties to take all possible measures to reduce infant mortality and to increase life expectancy, especially in adopting measures to eliminate malnutrition and epidemics.” ¶5 (1982).

HRC: Interpreting the right to life, the HRC has recommended that Namibia “pursue efforts to protect its population from HIV/AIDS” and “adopt comprehensive measures encouraging and facilitating greater numbers of persons suffering from HIV and AIDS to obtain adequate antiretroviral treatment and facilitate such treatment.” CCPR/CO/81/NAM (July 30, 2004).

HRC: Recommending “equal access to treatment” in Kenya. CCPR/CO/83/KEN (April 29, 2005).

HRC: Recommending that Uganda “allow greater number of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS to obtain adequate antiretroviral treatment.” CCPR/CO/80/UGA (May 4, 2004).

Human Rights
Case Law
ECHR 2(1): Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law. ECtHR: The applicant argued that the decision to remove him from the U.K. where he receives antiretroviral drugs to control his case of HIV to St. Kitts where he would likely be unable to obtain antiretroviral drugs necessary to prevent his death from HIV/AIDS-related illness would violate Art. 2. The Court found that the complaint under Art. 2 is “indissociable” from the substance of the complaint under Art. 3 (freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment). D.V. v. The United Kingdom, 30240/96 (May 2, 1997).