Breaking Barriers Advancing Rights

Breaking Barriers Advancing Rights: We won’t end AIDS if we continue to threaten and violate – rather than respect and uphold – human rights.

Why we did it

‘Breaking Barriers Advancing Rights: Strengthening Health Systems to remove Human Rights Barriers to HIV-related and other health services’ began in 2019.

Over the next 13 months, we took on a number of activities to ensure that human rights interventions in national health systems are of a high quality.

We know that only 0.13% of HIV funding is allocated to human rights responses. What we don’t know, is much at all about how human rights programming improves access to services. The data barely exists.

Where high-level policy guidance does exist, it doesn’t include best practices, or how to support programme implementers themselves.

Global thought leaders know that gender inequalities, stigma, discrimination and criminalisation continue to persist as massive barriers to preventing and treating HIV globally. Most often, this affects marginalised populations such as sex workers, people who use drugs, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and men who have sex with men (MSM) communities, and people living with HIV.

If we are to achieve global HIV prevention targets we need to make sure that health services are provided to communities in a way that advances their human rights.

Our results

Through Breaking Barriers, Advancing Rights, we were able to increase the capacity of technical assistance providers, civil society, governments and donors to respond to rights-related barriers to services. Key highlights include:

  • Technical assistance allowed the development of Uganda’s five-year comprehensive plan to reduce human rights-related barriers to HIV, TB and malaria services. Because of this assistance, the Plan included actions to reduce rights-related barriers despite the restrictive environment.
  • 75 people attended a workshop on addressing rights-related barriers to HIV services, including colleagues from The Global Fund, UNAIDS, Stop TB Partnership and GIZ as well as technical assistance provides.
  • The Implementers Guide was piloted in Anglophone Africa (26 participants) and Francophone Africa (18 participants) with representatives from civil society, national governments, and other stakeholders. 14 participants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia also took part in Key Informant Interviews. Their feedback helped shape and strengthen the guide.
  • In Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa, assistance was provided to begin the process of scaling up REAct to the national level. This continues under separate grants.
  • Flowers of Tomorrow, a film detailing the rights-related barriers to services that sex workers face, was produced to highlight the further need to invest in addressing these barriers.

Breaking Barriers Advancing Rights ran from 2019-2020 and was supported by GIZ BACKUP Health, and implemented in collaboration with The Global Fund human rights team to support the delivery of human rights programming in country national grants in the four countries.

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