ASSESSMENT OF NATIONAL LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR HIV AND AIDS - TWO NATIONAL CONSULTANTS

Location : Mbabane, SWAZILAND
Application Deadline :30-Apr-13
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
13-May-2013
Duration of Initial Contract :30 days
Expected Duration of Assignment :Over period of 3 months

Background

In 2011, Member States of the UN adopted the UNGASS Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS,  committing to reviewing national laws and practices that create barriers to effective HIV responses. The Declaration recognises that a country’s legal environment, its laws and how they are implemented and enforced, is fundamental for the national response to HIV. 
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s recent report, Risks, Rights & Health 2012 found evidence of how protective legal environments improve the lives of people living with HIV and reduce vulnerability to infection. Across the globe, it also found evidence of how stigma, discrimination, punitive laws, brutal policing and ineffective access to justice continue to fuel the HIV epidemic. 

The Global Commission’s report focused on five main areas: laws and practices that discriminate against people living with HIV or AIDS; laws and practices that criminalise those living with and most vulnerable to HIV; laws and practices that sustain or mitigate violence and discrimination against women; laws and practices that facilitate or impede access to HIV-related treatment and issues of law relating to children and young people in the context of HIV. It also alludes to the continued experience of stigma and discrimination in their families, homes, places of work, communities, health care services and workplaces even where protective HIV laws are in place.

Most Countries with criminal laws punish people for exposing another person to or transmitting HIV, exacerbating HIV-related stigma and spreading fear amongst populations. Laws that criminalise acts such as sex work, same-sex relations and drug use increase violence and brutality against these key populations, driving them away from health care services. Women and girls live under laws, customs and norms that deny them economic power and sanction inequality and abuse, undermining their ability to protect themselves from HIV infection. Young people are denied access to crucial services that protect from unsafe sex and drug use, and international trade law and intellectual property protections block access to low-cost medicines for many countries.  The investigation conducted by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law also found reason for hope where legal and justice systems around the world played constructive roles in responding to HIV. The Commission’s investigation concluded with action-oriented, evidence-informed recommendations for government, civil society and international organisations, in order to strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks for HIV and AIDS.

HIV/AIDS in Swaziland was declared a national disaster in 1999 and the national prevalence rate is at 26.1% between the reproductive age group (SHDS 2007). The country adopted the three in one principle one national coordination body, National Strategic Framework and one monitoring and evaluation system. Several strategic plans have been developed and implemented, the last NSF being the 2009 – 2014. The NSF is premised on the aspirations of the National Development Strategy (NDS) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan (PRSAP). Both National documents allude to the reduction of new infections and intensifying programmes that seek to reverse the spread of HIV.  The NSF has also been developed and aligned to the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS 2001), The Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action (2001), the Maseru Declara¬tion on HIV and AIDS, The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Human Rights Declaration, and aiming to attain the Millennium Development Goals. A National multi-sectoral HIV and AIDS Policy was also developed in 2006. The policy states government‘s commitment to protect and promote  human rights;  review existing laws and policies to ensure that laws address public health and human rights concerns related to HIV; ensure access to legal aid services for vulnerable groups. The NSF (2009 – 14) has also prioritised interventions aimed at improving legal strategies and human rights protection for all vulnerable groups such as populations at risk including identifying ethical, legal and human rights gaps in the national response. Swaziland defines its key population as commercial sex workers; same sex partners; prisoners; IDUs; migrant and mobile populations such as seasonal workers. 

The review of the Swaziland’s national legal and regulatory framework is an important step in strengthening the country’s response to HIV and AIDS. The national assessment aims to conduct an analysis of the country’s laws, regulations and policies, how these are implemented and how people access justice and enforce rights in the country. It will further determine the extent to which the legal and regulatory framework protects rights relating to a specific sector and/or acts as a barrier to access to HIV-related services, including stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence and inequality and human rights abuses affecting people especially key populations in the context of HIV and AIDS. There are various intersections between HIV, law and human rights this assignment will focus on the key focus areas of the Global Commission’s work – that is laws and practices that promote or impede effective responses to HIV in the context of HIV-related stigma and discrimination; issues affecting women, children and young people; criminal laws in the context of HIV and access to treatment.
A team of consultants constituting of  a Legal, Human Rights and HIV expert and Public Health and Law / Human rights expert are therefore required to undertake this assignment, to conduct the legal analysis; and facilitate focus group interviews, and key informants interviews aimed at informing recommendations and action plans on the development, implementation and enforcement of laws, regulations,  policies and measures to improve access to justice, so as to protect rights and promote universal access to services in the context of HIV and AIDS.

The objective of the National Legal Environment Assessment is to review laws, regulations and policy guidelines, access to justice systems and human rights knowledge in the context of HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria with the view of identifying the nature and extent of stigma, discrimination, gender inequality and gender-based violence and human rights abuses affecting key populations. Secondly to assess the impact of the legal framework in protecting rights and promoting universal access to services.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct desk review of relevant reports, research studies relating to law, national legal framework, national, regional and international reports on best practices aimed at promoting access to justice and public health services for key populations.
  • To analyse international, regional and national human rights obligation relating to HIV and AIDS and related rights that Swaziland as a state party has committed to.
  • To examine the nature, extent, efficacy and impact of national legal and regulatory framework including: examining laws that protect against discrimination and human rights abuses and promote universal access to HIV-related health care including anti-discrimination laws, laws that protect the rights of women, children and young people, health laws that promote patient’s rights and intellectual property laws that promote access to treatment, amongst others.
  • Review and or develop Focused Groups Interview and Key Informants Interview data collection tools; Conduct at least 12 FGIs and 20 – 30 KII on the impact of HIV and the law and human rights, implication of culture and traditional practices including attitudes on key populations and vulnerable groups.
  • To examine HIV-related laws and human rights issues affecting populations vulnerable in the context of HIV and Key populations at higher risk of HIV exposure in Swaziland including issues relating to Women, Children, Young People and People with Disability and the extent to which these issues are addressed by the current environment.
  • Review punitive laws that block access to services for key populations at higher risk of HIV exposure including criminal laws that may criminalise HIV transmission or exposure, sex work, same-sex relationships, provision of harm reduction programmes to people who use drugs; coercive health laws that deny patients’ health rights and immigration laws that create travel restrictions for people living with HIV, amongst others.
  • Analyse the extent to which key populations know and understand their rights, and key service providers, lawmakers and law-enforcers are sensitized to HIV-related law and human rights issues to enable effective implementation of services, access to justice and enforcement of HIV-related laws.
  • Identifying the impact of the current legal framework on key populations at higher risk of HIV exposure and on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
  • Noting, where relevant, identify lessons learned during the process of developing, implementing and enforcing laws, regulations and policies relevant to HIV and AIDS including of those that are barriers to the development, implementation and enforcement of protective frameworks.
  • Identify strengths, gaps and challenges in the legal and regulatory framework in terms of alignment with national, regional and international human rights commitments, guidance, best practice and lessons learned from foreign jurisdictions (where relevant) and in terms of addressing key HIV laws and human rights issues and promoting effective responses to HIV.
  • To review the Global Commission on HIV and the Law Report and assess the extent to which legal framework, culture and traditional practices align to the recommendations thereof.
  • Recommend measures to: strengthen the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of protective laws; remove or amend punitive laws; strengthen awareness of protective laws and services amongst communities and service providers, and Improve access to justice and law enforcement in the context of HIV and AIDS.
  • Facilitate a national stakeholder’s validation meeting to review the findings of the report based on the outcome of final consultative process.
  • Present the final report findings of the legal environment assessment findings on HIV and the Law and Human rights during the launch of the Global Commission Report on HIV and the Law.
  • The Consultants will report to the LEA Steering committee which will provide the oversight function to the project and the Regional Service Centre (RSC) who will provide technical support and guidance to the project.

Competencies

Corporate Competencies:
  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism;
  • Fulfills all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment

Functional Competencies:
  • Proven analytical, organizational development and inter-personal skills.
  • Research and evaluation skills including ability to synthesize information
  • Excellent oral, and effective presentation and report-writing skills;
  • Express clearly and concisely ideas and concepts in writing and orally
  • Ability to meet deadlines with minimum supervision.
  • Ability to manage conflicting ideas and views from diverse groups
  • Excellent social and communication skills
  • Excellent computers skills required.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:
  • A minimum of Master’s Degree in the following fields: Human Rights Law, HIV and Law, Public Health Policy and Development, Political Sciences, Public Health and Law Analysts or a related discipline.
Experience:
  • At least 10 years of relevant professional experience including at least five years experience in law and policy development and or legal drafting.
  • Understanding of and experience in working on HIV, health and human rights issues
  • Experience in conducting research, including developing interview and focus group discussion tools and conducting interviews, as well as desk research.
  • Experience in drafting policy documents, and carrying out research and studies, analysis especially with developing national legal aid policy framework and legislation.
  • Substantial knowledge and understanding of setting up state and non state owned legal aid system in the SADC region and internationally. (Experience and understanding of the regional context is essential).

Language Requirements:

  • English is the preferred language.

FC: 30000

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.