Aziza Ahmed https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/7715/all cached version 09/02/2019 05:16:01 en Preventing HIV: the decriminalisation of sex work https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed-jm-kirby/preventing-hiv-decriminalisation-of-sex-work <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A new bill, together with moves by some police departments in American cities to end the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, has given hope to activists fighting to reduce the spread of HIV, secure human rights for sex workers, and to decriminalize sex work.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the recent International AIDS <a href="http://www.aids2014.org/">Conference</a>, <em>The Lancet</em> released a special issue on sex work and HIV. Acknowledging that sex workers constitute a disproportionate burden of people with <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60931-4/fulltext#article_upsell">HIV,</a> Kate Shannon and colleagues modeled various interventions to measure how change in structural determinants of health would impact HIV transmission. Researchers found that the decriminalization of sex work would have the largest impact on the course of HIV epidemics by “averting 33-46% of HIV infections in the next decade.” </p> <p>While sex worker organizations advocated for the decriminalization of sex work <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2350180">long before</a> the HIV epidemic in the United States, it was HIV that brought new attention to the need for sex workers to access safe sex materials to stop the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Sex workers, epidemiologists and lawyers noted that criminal laws, as well as police practices, played a large role in frustrating the ability of sex workers to access public health education, as well as key tools in preventing the spread of HIV, including condoms. </p> <p>In 2008, sex worker organization <em>Different Avenues</em> published one of the <a href="http://www.dctranscoalition.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/movealongreport.pdf">first reports</a> to document police harassment and abuse of sex workers, and people whom the police profile as sex workers. Researched and authored by community members directly impacted by policing, the report highlighted the seizing of condoms and safe sex materials from people the police suspected to be sex workers, and their use subsequently as evidence in trials in the District of Columbia. </p> <p>Further, the report highlighted the harms of Washington, D.C.’s <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/districts-prostitution-free-zones-likely-unconstitutional-ags-office-says/2012/01/24/gIQAe3qNOQ_story.html">“prostitution-free zones,”</a> (PFZs), areas in which police have a strengthened ability to force people to leave an area, as well as to stop, search, and arrest people they believe are engaging in prostitution. Similar to initiatives in other cities, the PFZs essentially codified abusive pre-existing tactics the police carry out every day, where they harass, search, and arrest sex workers or individuals they suspect are sex workers, usually under the cover of overbroad anti-loitering or soliciting statutes. This has had a disproportionate impact on people of colour and impoverished people, and particularly on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/cecilia-chung/hiv-call-for-solidarity-with-transgender-community">transgender</a> women of colour, who are frequently profiled as sex workers. </p> <p>The Washington D.C. Council held a <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/10/written-testimony-support-bill-20-760-repeal-prostitution-free-zone-amendment-act-20">hearing</a> on July 9 on a bill introduced by Councilman <a href="http://dccouncil.us/council/david-grosso">David Grosso</a> to repeal the prostitution-free zones. The police department in D.C. did not oppose the bill, and it seems set for approval later this year. The proposed bill, together with moves by some police departments to end the use of condoms as evidence, gives hope to activists fighting to reduce the spread of HIV, secure human rights for sex workers, and to decriminalize sex work. This is true both globally and in the United States, where criminal laws allow for the ongoing harassment, arrest, detainment, and mistreatment of sex workers and people affected by policing of sex work.&nbsp; </p> <p>Since 2008, numerous organizations have also taken up the cause of ending police and prosecutors’ use of condoms as evidence, including (but not limited to) Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Streetwise and Safe, Sex Worker Project, Lambda Legal, St. James Infirmary, Best Practices Policy Project, and the Access to Condoms Coalition.&nbsp; Each of the <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/19/us-police-practices-fuel-hiv-epidemic">reports</a> and<a href="http://www.nocondomsasevidence.org/hearing-testimony/"> initiatives</a> spearheaded by these organizations condemned the use of condoms as evidence for impeding HIV interventions. These groups, along with many others, have also <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/10/written-testimony-support-bill-20-760-repeal-prostitution-free-zone-amendment-act-20">spoken</a> out against other discriminatory practices of police, such as the PFZs.&nbsp; For sex workers and their allies carrying condoms is a key tool in preventing the spread of HIV.&nbsp; In turn, when the police harass sex workers and confiscate condoms they undermine efforts to promote safe sex. </p> <p>Starting last spring, the hard work of sex worker organizations and advocates paid off in <a href="http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org/2014/05/13/partial-victory-in-nyc-as-police-chief-limits-use-of-condoms-as-evidence/">New York City</a>, <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/S-F-no-longer-criminalizes-condoms-4629384.php">San Francisco</a>, and <a href="http://www.citylab.com/crime/2014/06/how-dc-finally-stopped-punishing-sex-workers-for-carrying-condoms/371582/">Washington, D.C</a>., where police departments have moved to stop seizing condoms for use as evidence of prostitution. However, obstacles remain. In 2014, in New York City the efforts of sex worker advocates and their allies resulted in Commissioner Bratton of the New York Police Department (NYPD) announcing that condoms would no longer be used as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/nypd-condoms-_n_5310906.html">evidence</a> in prostitution cases. Unfortunately there is a large loophole in this new policy: condoms will still be used as evidence in sex-trafficking cases.&nbsp; This is a continuing challenge where sex work and sex-trafficking are conflated. As stated by the <a href="http://www.nocondomsasevidence.org/2014/05/12/access-to-condoms-coalition-response-to-nypd-announcement/">Access to Condoms Coalition</a>: </p> <p>“Unfortunately,&nbsp;it does not go far enough, and creates a loophole&nbsp;big enough to drive a truck through: police can still continue to&nbsp;use the possession of condoms to justify an arrest,&nbsp;confiscate&nbsp;condoms from sex workers and&nbsp;survivors as “investigatory evidence” where promoting or trafficking is suspected,&nbsp;and confiscate&nbsp;condoms as evidence in promoting and trafficking cases.” </p> <p>Trafficking laws often result in the continued arrest and harassment of sex workers. Further, in some jurisdictions prostitution cases may be treated as trafficking cases. Thus the exception for trafficking may undermine the effort to promote condom use by sex workers. New York-based organizations like <a href="http://www.streetwiseandsafe.org/">Streetwise and Safe</a>, say that they will actively monitor the implementation of the new police policy. </p> <p>Mounting evidence such as that in the Lancet, that increased rights for sex workers contributes significantly to their health and well being, particularly by reducing HIV transmissions, may help sex workers and their allies expand on these new gains. Recent policy shifts on the seizure and use of condoms as evidence, as well as re-evaluations of the prostitution-free zones, point towards new thinking on the part of police about the health and safety of sex workers. However, loopholes in the new policies make clear that sex workers and allies must be vigilant in observing and shaping the implementation of these laws and policies. </p><p><em>This article is part of 50.50's series of critical perspectives on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/womens-movement-building/aids-gender-and-human-rights">AIDS Gender and Human Rights</a>. We published articles daily during the 2014 World AIDS Conference in Melbourne July 20-25</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nada-mustafa-ali/hope-pain-and-patience-hiv-and-sex-workers">Hope, pain and patience: HIV and sex workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/parinita-bhattacharjee/sex-work-violence-and-hiv-experience-from-rural-karnataka">Sex work, violence and HIV: experience from rural Karnataka</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/aids-2014-conference-stepping-up-pace-and-still-on-wrong-path">AIDS 2014 Conference: stepping up the pace and still on the wrong path </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/cecilia-chung/hiv-call-for-solidarity-with-transgender-community">HIV: a call for solidarity with the transgender community </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 50.50 50.50 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights 50.50 Highlights women's health 50.50 newsletter J.M. Kirby Aziza Ahmed Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:12:33 +0000 Aziza Ahmed and J.M. Kirby 85081 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Are hospitals safe for women living with HIV? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/jennifer-gatsi-mallet-aziza-ahmed-mindy-roseman/are-hospitals-safe-for-women-living-with-hiv <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>There is no shortage of documentation regarding the struggle of women living with HIV to access basic care, support, and treatment. There is however a dearth of remedies and of justice.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>“He said you are HIV-positive you to go to Katatura hospital to get your positive test results. I went to that room, I knocked; they said I need a medical passport, I went and got a medical passport, the man is talk, talk, talk. He said, ‘Do you know what HIV is?’ I said, ‘Yes, it kills,’ and he said, ‘Well you have HIV.’ I walked out and threw away the card.” – woman living with HIV, Namibia</p><p>We often assume that hospitals are healing places, where people living with HIV receive medical services in a safe facility, from trustworthy health practitioners. While this can be the case, a human rights investigation conducted by the Namibia Women’s Health Network, Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, and Northeastern University School of Law found that women living with HIV are often mistreated in hospital settings. This report will be launched at the <a href="http://www.aids2012.org/">AIDS</a> conference this week in Washington DC. Key issues that arose from the investigation include:</p><p><strong>Stigma and discrimination <br /></strong></p> <p>Women living with HIV are singled out, segregated, and discriminated against throughout their pregnancies, including during their labour. Along with bearing the emotional weight of such conduct, pregnant women who have HIV also find themselves at increased (yet avoidable) health risks because they are not given adequate attention in hospitals. In Namibia, the need to address such stigma and discrimination has been acknowledged in successive versions of its <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---ilo_aids/documents/legaldocument/wcms_140589.pdf">National Policy</a> on HIV/AIDS.</p><p><strong>HIV testing without informed consent or confidentiality</strong></p> <p>Verifying a <a href="http://www.icw.org/node/421">2008 study</a> conducted by the International Community of Women Living with HIV and the Namibia Women’s Health Network, our investigations demonstrate that women living with HIV undergo HIV tests without their consent. Learning their HIV status comes as a surprise. Further, interviewees told us of impediments to access to clear, accurate and detailed information on essential issues related to HIV testing such as: the importance of knowing their HIV status; the possible test results and their consequences; the available treatment for those who have tested positive, including access to prevention of vertical transmission programmes; and their right to informed consent to (or refusal of) testing and treatment.</p><p><strong>Forced Sterilization</strong></p> <p>Amplifying the findings of the 2008 study, our investigation reveals additional cases of <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/jennifer-gatsi-mallet-aziza-ahmed/sterilisation-fight-for-bodily-integrity">sterilization</a>. Women living with HIV reported that medical personnel failed to obtain consent; they failed to communicate with patients due to language barriers. Medical professionals obtained consent under duress and/or based on misinformation and they demanded consent to sterilization in order for female patients to access other necessary services including abortion and child delivery. Medical professionals demanded and/or obtained consent for sterilization without providing information about sterilization or other contraceptive options. Additionally, they recorded misinformation on medical passports and denied women access to medical records. The majority of reported cases of forced and coerced sterilization involve the failure of medical personnel to provide women living with HIV with a description of the nature of the sterilization procedure, its effects, consequences, and risks. Discrimination against women living with HIV in relation to childbirth also surfaces in limiting their access to a family planning method of their choice, such as by pressuring them to use Depo-Provera, an injectable hormonal contraceptive.</p><p>Making visible the ongoing mistreatment of HIV positive women has broad implications for HIV projects and programs that assume that hospitals are safe places for implementing women-focused projects. Awareness of wrong doing in hospitals should raise questions about how HIV treatment programmes are being implemented. For example, “Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission” (PMTCT) programmes offer testing and treatment during pregnancy and often afterwards. It is not unusual to hear PMTCT funders and implementers lament the lack of uptake in PMTCT programs. Mistreatment and discrimination of women living with HIV in these clinical settings may provide a partial explanation for the disconnect between the provision of services and the lack of responsiveness amongst women. </p><p>AIDS 2012 takes place in the 31st year of the HIV epidemic. While there has been beautiful progress, such as the huge advances in treatment and the possibility of women having children 98% free of HIV, the history of HIV is one strewn with the ugly facts of discrimination, human rights violations, and ongoing mistreatment of people living with HIV. There is no shortage of <a href="http://reproductiverights.org/en/feature/demanding-rights-for-hiv-positive-women">documentation</a> regarding the struggle women living with HIV continue to face to access basic care, support, and treatment. There is however a dearth of remedies and of justice.</p> <p><em>The authors' report, "At the hospital there are no human rights", will be launched at the International AIDS conference on July 26th</em></p><p><strong><em>This article is one of a series of articles that openDemocracy 50.50 is publishing on '<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aids-2010-rights-here-right-now">AIDS, gender and human rights</a>' in the run up to, and during, the <a href="http://www.aids2012.org/">AIDS 2012 conference</a> in Washington DC, July 22-27. </em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/aziza-ahmed-jennifer-gatsi-mallet/sterilisation-fight-for-bodily-integrity">Sterilisation: the fight for bodily integrity</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/aziza-ahmed/sterilized-against-our-will">Sterilized: against our will </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/susan-paxton/positive-and-pregnant-in-asia-how-dare-you">Positive and pregnant in Asia - How dare you</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/content/balancing-on-wheels-of-hope">Balancing on Wheels of Hope</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/maria-de-bruyn/hiv-women-and-abortion-rights">HIV, women and abortion rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/jessica-horn/accepted-mishaps-faith-healing-hiv-and-aids-responses">Accepted mishaps? Faith healing, HIV and AIDS responses</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/absence-of-evidence-does-not-mean-evidence-of-absence">Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/maria-de-bruyn/hiv-what-kind-of-evidence-counts">HIV: what kind of evidence counts ?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/ida-susser/microbicide-success-feminism-is-essential-to-good-science">A microbicide success: feminism is essential to good science</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/when-things-fall-apart">When things fall apart</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/blog/email/sylvia-rowley/2009/03/01/hiv-and-womens-rights-in-uganda-why-a-new-law-would-hurt-women">HIV and women&#039;s rights in Uganda: why a new law would hurt women</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/blog/csw-2009/kimberly-whipkey/2009/03/05/hiv-positive-and-forcibly-sterilized-a-chilling-reality">HIV-positive and forcibly sterilized: a chilling reality</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/hiv-and-global-plan-turning-tide-or-wash-out-for-women">HIV and the Global Plan: turning the tide or a wash-out for women?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/ida-susser/hiv-fight-for-trade-related-intellectual-property-regulations">HIV: the fight for trade related intellectual property regulations</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/silvia-petretti/hiv-both-cause-and-consequence-of-violence-against-women">HIV: both the cause and the consequence of violence against women</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/hiv-of-bombs-and-banks-and-transformation">HIV: of bombs and banks and transformation...</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Namibia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Namibia Civil society Equality 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights 50.50 Our Africa 50.50 Editor's Pick Pathways of Women's Empowerment women's movements women's health violence against women sexual identities gender justice gender bodily autonomy Mindy Roseman Aziza Ahmed & Jennifer Gatsi-Mallet Wed, 25 Jul 2012 07:30:10 +0000 & Jennifer Gatsi-Mallet, Aziza Ahmed and Mindy Roseman 67158 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sterilisation: the fight for bodily integrity https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed-jennifer-gatsi-mallet/sterilisation-fight-for-bodily-integrity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Accessing justice has been a long process for the sterilized HIV positive women whose cases are being heard before a judge in Namibia - and longer still for the women who may never have their day in court </div> </div> </div> <p>After another week of testimony, the cases of forced and coerced sterilization of HIV positive women being heard in the Namibian courts have once again been postponed – this time until January of 2011.&nbsp; Accessing justice has been a long process for the sterilized HIV positive women whose cases are being heard before a judge - and longer still for the women who may never have their day in court.</p> <p>The movement for acknowledging the egregious violations of positive women’s rights in Namibia began in 2007 when the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS and the Namibia Women’s Health Network <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CBcQFjAA&amp;url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.icw.org%252Ffiles%252FThe%2520forced%2520and%2520coerced%2520sterilization%2520of%2520HIV%2520positive%2520women%2520in%2520Namibia%252009.pdf&amp;rct=j&amp;q=forced%20and%20coerced%20sterilization%20namibia&amp;ei=WiCWTKG-BMOqlAfrtu2oCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGWPSy-w1Pj9j37Vq6Suv7Uh3FA9g&amp;sig2=k9wYZR0qwaob7n9lIqb4ww&amp;cad=rja">&nbsp;published a report</a> documenting cases of forced and coerced sterilization.&nbsp; Since this initial report documenting 40 cases of sterilization, formal fact-finding missions by the Namibia Women’s Health Network have resulted in the documentation of more cases of sterilization. In other instances HIV positive women have come forward with their own experiences of sterilization after hearing reports in the news.&nbsp; Such was true even in the most recent week of trial as more women reported their sterilizations as word of the cases spread through Namibia.<strong> <br /></strong></p> <p>Those who argue in support of every woman's right to have children are often met with a common refrain: “but why must a woman who has seven (insert any number here, really) children have the right to have more?&nbsp; Especially an HIV positive woman!”&nbsp; Life is not that straightforward when it comes to reproduction, not for an HIV positive women, and not for many other women.&nbsp; Women frequently face a lack of access to contraceptives, inability to access safe abortion services, lack of education and information about preventing pregnancy.&nbsp; Further, social factors including sexual violence, pressure to bear children, and a woman’s fears around child survival can influence when and how a woman becomes pregnant.</p> <p>Sexual and reproductive health services must meet the needs of women as identified by women in order to respect women’s sexual and reproductive rights as well as build trust in the health care system.&nbsp; A woman facing sexual violence at home needs to be able to disclose that information and seek assistance for herself and her family.&nbsp; If she seeks contraceptives she should be given full access to reproductive health services with information about the effects and consequences of these options.&nbsp;&nbsp; These types of services respect bodily integrity and enhance trust in health care providers.&nbsp; This is drastically different from the outcomes of forced and coerced sterilization that, aside from the traumatic physical and emotional consequences, lead to mistrust in and fear of the health care system. This lack of trust leads to even further negative health outcomes -- as women who fear sterilization might avoid hospitals during childbirth or choose not to approach the health care system for necessary care and treatment around HIV.<strong> <br /></strong></p> <p>One major success of the campaign to end forced sterilizations of HIV positive women thus far has been the outpouring of support for the reproductive rights of HIV positive women in Namibia.&nbsp; Over sixteen hundred people from around the world <a href="http://womensrights.change.org/petitions/view/end_the_forced_sterilization_of_hiv_positive_women_in_namibia">signed a petition</a> demanding that the rights of HIV positive women be respected – the petition was hand <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXzPU41Glbg&amp;feature=player_embedded">delivered to Ministry of Health officials</a>.&nbsp; Alongside the local and international activism came hundreds of articles and blogs highlighting the inequalities faced by HIV positive women.&nbsp; The cases have helped also to shed light and attention on the potentially widespread nature of forced sterilization for HIV positive women outside of Namibia, as well forced sterilization of other communities of marginalized women.&nbsp; Recent cases of forced sterilization against HIV positive women have been documented in Chile and <a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201008310511.html">South Africa</a>.&nbsp; In the case of South Africa, the sterilizations represent a failure on the part of the government to achieve the human rights principles enshrined in the country’s constitution.&nbsp; With regard to other marginalized groups of women, forced sterilizations have been documented in numerous regions including in Hungary against Roma women and performed on <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2148793.stm">indigenous women in Peru</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>International activist support and media attention has bolstered the creation of a strong and sustained movement for the rights positive women and others who are victims of forced or coerced sterilization. The alienation of HIV positive women in the context of antenatal care undermines the potential of effective prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV programs. In Namibia, the increased attention to the issue has contributed not only to support HIV positive women, but has helped raise awareness of the fact that despite gains in ensuring that human rights are respected in the response to HIV, positive women continue to suffer at the hands of the very health care system that should be providing treatment and support&nbsp;</p> <p>Keeping sustained focus on the issue of sterilization has made a difference in the ability of a larger movement to take shape both inside Namibia and out.&nbsp; Despite the slow moving response of the courts and the states involved, it's essential that we keep the attention on the issue of forced sterilization in order to finally end this egregious violation of women’s bodies and lives.</p> <p>While the cases will hopefully result in some justice for the women, there are several other steps the Namibian government should take in moving forward to rectify the current situation in hospitals that allow for forced and coerced sterilization to occur.&nbsp; The government can draft a law that explicitly protects women from forced and coerced sterilization.&nbsp; Currently, no such law in Namibia exists.&nbsp; This should go hand in hand with a law clearly articulating the rights of women to choose when and how many children they have regardless of HIV or other marginalized status. Informed consent policies must be strengthened to ensure that women and girls receive full information about procedures, their risks, outcomes, and consequences.&nbsp; Women and girls should always be offered the full range of available options for family planning and HIV positive women should be a part of this implementation process to ensure transparency. National HIV and AIDS policies should ensure that the sexual and reproductive health and rights of HIV positive women are clearly articulated.&nbsp; This list is not comprehensive, but provides some insight into the many actions that could take place to help move Namibia towards a greater respect for the rights of HIV positive women.</p> <p>While the court cases are going on there will be no apologies, but when the court makes its ruling the government should issue an official apology to the many Namibian women who have been forcibly sterilized, but who may never have their day in court.&nbsp;</p> <p>While some in the media imply or argue that there may be reasons why sterilization is warranted, we should continue to be clear that forced and coerced sterilization is never justified: the HIV epidemic cannot continue to be an excuse for violating women’s bodies.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/ida-susser/microbicide-success-feminism-is-essential-to-good-science">A microbicide success: feminism is essential to good science</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/medication-prevention-and-me">Medication, prevention and me</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/roger-tatoud/funding-struggle-for-hiv-prevention-in-women%E2%80%99s-hands">A funding struggle for an HIV prevention in women’s hands</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/a_war_against_women">HIV/Aids: a war on women</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/ida-susser/hiv-fight-for-trade-related-intellectual-property-regulations">HIV: the fight for trade related intellectual property regulations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/andrea-von-lieven/hiv-nothing-about-us-without-us">HIV: nothing about us, without us</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/silvia-petretti/hiv-both-cause-and-consequence-of-violence-against-women">HIV: both the cause and the consequence of violence against women</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/maria-de-bruyn/hiv-what-kind-of-evidence-counts">HIV: what kind of evidence counts ?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/heidemarie-kremer/history-of-aids-dinosaur">The history of an AIDS dinosaur</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/we-hear-thunder-but-we-see-no-rain">We hear the thunder but we see no rain </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/anca-nitulescu/romania-living-with-hiv">Romania: living with HIV</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/angelina-namiba/african-women-with-hiv-in-europe-from-isolation-to-involvement">African women with HIV in Europe: from isolation to involvement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Science </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Equality Science Africa 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights Pathways of Women's Empowerment Jennifer Gatsi Mallet Aziza Ahmed Tue, 26 Oct 2010 15:03:50 +0000 Aziza Ahmed and Jennifer Gatsi Mallet 56571 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A focus on sex workers https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed/focus-on-sex-workers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The attitude that we can ' rescue' sex workers has led to provisions in anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution laws which limit the ability of sex workers to access life-saving care and address the HIV epidemic</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Jonathan Mann <a href="http://www.aids2010.org/Default.aspx?pageId=270">Memorial lecture of the AIDS 2010</a> conference sets out&nbsp; to honor Jonathan Mann the founder and first head of the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS.&nbsp; This year’s selected speaker was <a href="http://www.sangram.org/">Meena Seshu</a>, General Secretary of <a href="http://www.sangram.org/">Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha</a> based in Sangli India, a champion and leader in the movement for sex workers’ health and rights in India.</p> <p>In her speech that won a standing ovation, Meena highlighted the ongoing struggle for the rights of sex workers in accessing health care, in living with HIV, and the ongoing mistreatment of sex workers by health care providers and the state.&nbsp; She also spoke to the diversity of sex workers and others who are marginalized by the health sector that have come to&nbsp; her program for services.&nbsp;&nbsp; Alongside the many women, others in marginalized sexual and gender diverse communities have turned to her program for information, care, and support.&nbsp; Her strong statements for the need to focus on and support sex workers were supported by voices of other prominent leaders in the sex workers movement at the conference, including Mickey Meji of the <a href="http://www.genderlinks.org.za/article/new-sex-workers-alliance-formed-2010-07-13">African Sex Worker Alliance</a>, Andrew Hunter of the <a href="http://www.nswp.org/">Global Network of Sex Work Projects</a>, and Cheryl Overs of the <a href="http://www.plri.org/">Paolo Longo Research Initiative</a>.</p> <p>A key barrier for sex workers to access care and services has been the laws and regulations that drive sex work underground, further stigmatizing sex workers and exposing them to violence and harm.&nbsp; The attitude that we can ' rescue' sex workers has driven the inclusion of a range of provisions in anti-trafficking laws which impede access to health services for sex workers.&nbsp; For example, despite purported assertions of saving women, the broad and unclear language of the <a href="http://www.genderhealth.org/the_issues/us_foreign_policy/antiprostitution_pledge/">anti-prostitution pledge</a>, which acts to block U.S. dollars from supporting sex worker organizations, has limited the ability of sex workers to access life-saving care, prevented programmes from working with sex workers, and preventing programs from relying on the known leadership of sex workers in addressing the HIV epidemic.&nbsp;</p> <p>My own first work in HIV and AIDS was with street based sex workers in the townships surrounding Johannesburg.&nbsp; I saw and experienced the impact of the law, criminalization, and stigma at first hand -&nbsp; when health education sessions were disrupted because a police car had been spotted from afar, when I visited a young sex worker in a small room unable to move due to the pain of a sexually transmitted infection and no doctor who would see her because she was a sex worker and potentially HIV positive, and when police officers harassed those of us who brought male and female condoms and education to these sex workers.&nbsp; This continues to be the case all over the world for marginalized groups including in Washington D.C. where sex workers are often harassed in <a href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/01/03/washington-dc%E2%80%99s-punitive-sex-work-laws-endanger-women%E2%80%99s-health-safety">prostitution-free zones</a> instituted by the city that essentially limit legal protections for sex workers against search and arrest.</p> <p>This ongoing marginalization of sex workers is blocking our ability to effectively respond to the HIV epidemic and preventing sex workers from getting necessary health services.&nbsp; I hope that the high profile of advocates for sex workers at this conference has turned the attention of the international community squarely to the necessity of addressing&nbsp; the role of the law in continuing to stigmatize, marginalize, and block access to life saving care.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 50.50 50.50 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights Aziza Ahmed Thu, 05 Aug 2010 12:51:30 +0000 Aziza Ahmed 55470 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Is evidence all it will take? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed/is-evidence-all-it-will-take <p>Drug use accounts for one in three new cases of HIV and is a major driver of the epidemic in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv4XOYG2n04">Eastern Europe</a>.&nbsp; The presence of the International <a href="http://www.aids2010.org/">AIDS</a> Conference in Vienna (given Vienna’s proximity to this region) has been an opportunity for activists and academics to highlight the importance of addressing the issues surrounding drug use with particular regard to HIV vulnerability.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.aids2010.org/WebContent/File/Vienna_Declaration_Release_EMBARGOED_Until_28_June_2010.pdf">Vienna Declaration</a>, compiled by a few key organizations and signed by many more, is a “scientific statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies.” One of the main criticisms made by the Vienna Declaration is of the ongoing “war on drugs.”&nbsp; The war on drugs is characterized by an over-reliance on prohibition, harsh drug enforcement policies, and the targeting of already marginalized groups. The declaration outlines the harms caused by the war on drugs on the HIV epidemic, including driving away drug users from prevention and care services and into unsafe environments where vulnerability to contracting HIV increases.</p> <p>In an effort to provide the evidence that paints a true picture of the ramifications of the war on drugs, the <em>Lancet</em> held a session here in Vienna featuring the July 2010 issue <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/series/hiv-in-people-who-use-drugs">on HIV in People who use drugs</a>.&nbsp; A comment by Nabia El-Bassel, Assel Terlikbaeva, and Sophie Pinkham contained in the issue offers a glimpse into the complicated interaction between gender and drug use with regard to HIV vulnerability.&nbsp; El-Bassel and her co-authors speak to the “double risk” faced by drug-using women in negotiating safe sex and drugs leading to the multiple ways women become vulnerable to contracting HIV.&nbsp; In particular, the authors highlight the <a href="http://www.idpc.net/sites/default/files/library/wmhreng_20091001.pdf">discrimination</a> faced by pregnant women who are also drug users, often in combination with ongoing stigmatization of HIV positive women accessing pregnancy related services. Many countries including the United States contribute to this ongoing stigma and discrimination:&nbsp; the state of&nbsp; <a href="http://www.womensenews.org/story/health/060920/jailing-pregnant-women-raises-health-risks">South Carolina</a> actively arrests and imprisons drug-using pregnant women. &nbsp;<a href="http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/">National Advocates for Pregnant Women</a> reports that between 1989 – 2006, 126 pregnant women have been arrested during their pregnancies in South Carolina, most of whom were charged with drug and alcohol abuse.&nbsp; In these circumstances, women who are HIV positive will likely face additional burdens of lack of continuity of care, barriers to accessing needed treatments, and ongoing stigma and discrimination.</p> <p>The Vienna Declaration is a necessary step in its demand to force governments to justify unnecessary and harmful laws. The <em>Lancet</em> issue provides the evidence we need to make the case to end the war on drugs.</p> <p>I am left wondering however:&nbsp; is it “rationality” that will work? Is it evidence that convinces lawmakers who think it’s a good idea to imprison pregnant women to think otherwise?&nbsp; Is it science that will make the lawmaker who believes that &nbsp;prison is an effective way to wean people off drugs, change his or her mind? Will targeting minority groups in drug enforcement change when there is suddenly evidence that validates that this is systematic?&nbsp; I am not entirely convinced.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 50.50 50.50 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights Aziza Ahmed Fri, 23 Jul 2010 11:23:04 +0000 Aziza Ahmed 55282 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Rights Here, Right Now, Rights Maybe? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed/rights-here-right-now-rights-maybe <p>At the International AIDS Conference in Vienna today I stood beneath a pair of underwear that belonged to a display of bras and “knickers” demarcating the border of the <a href="http://www.worldywca.org/Events/AIDS-Conference/AIDS-2010/Women-s-Networking-Zone-at-AIDS-2010">Women’s Networking Zone</a> in the Global Village.&nbsp; Women had arrived at the AIDS Conference apparently wearing black, red, stripes, and polka dots.</p> <p>And people noticed.&nbsp; In his remarks at the Opening Plenary of the conference, Michel Sidibé, Director of the Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, <a href="http://www.unaids.org/en/default.asp">spoke explicitly</a> about the need to address women’s issues in our response to the epidemic, with particular reference to gender based violence.&nbsp; <a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201005120421.html">Paula Akugizibwe</a> of the <a href="http://www.arasa.info/">AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa</a> reminded us that positive women avoid life-saving prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services because of egregious human rights violations in the context of delivering PMTCT care, including forced and coerced <a href="../../../../../../../../5050/aziza-ahmed/sterilized-against-our-will">sterilization</a> of HIV positive women. <a href="http://www.iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=5&amp;elementId=12672">Julio Montaner</a> acknowledged amongst the shouting of sex worker rights activists that sex work should be decriminalized.</p> <p>Central to all of this is the idea that trust is important to making the health system function effectively.&nbsp; We cannot simply assume that health care providers can stigmatize, discriminate, and trample on the specific health needs of people who seek HIV related services – including women who seek sexual and reproductive health services in the context of HIV – and then expect people to return to a system where they were mistreated.&nbsp; To most this would be common sense, but the mainstream public health response has often bolstered the notion that we should be more concerned with outcomes than we are with people – a false and troubling dichotomy.</p> <p><a href="../../../../../../../../article/5050/international_womens_day/hiv_aids">Mandatory testing</a> represents one of the greatest “victories” of this false dichotomy.&nbsp; Over the last 10 years we have seen an erosion of the right to consent to be tested for HIV, and this has had a grave impact for women who are often tested, against their will, while giving birth.&nbsp; For some this moment represents an “opportunity” to intervene and potentially save a life (I use the singular here intentionally as with this type of health response we often are not concerned about the well being of the mother, only that of the child) despite the fact that <a href="http://www.icw.org/files/briefingpaper-%20motherhood%2009-08.pdf">positive women have long decried</a> this basic violation of bodily integrity and the fear and distrust that it has created amongst positive women.&nbsp; For women’s rights activists, mandatory testing becomes a gateway for other violations stemming from a woman’s positive status, from mistreatment to sterilization. Once respect for individuals has been systematically eroded in the public health arena, it is difficult to get it back.&nbsp; Even harder to win back is the trust of individuals, a truth learned with the <a href="http://www.tuskegee.edu/global/Story.asp?s=1209864">Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiment</a> when the U.S. government used <a href="http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=499&amp;Itemid=177">Black men and their families</a> as research subjects without their consent, a lesson that is being re-learned today with positive women.&nbsp;</p> <p>The centrality of human rights in the “public health” response to an epidemic that has largely marginalized the individual, especially the already marginalized individual be that a woman, a sex worker, a man who has sex with other men (MSM), a transgender individual, or a drug user (or some combination of these categories) was seen as key to addressing the HIV epidemic in last night’s Opening Plenary.&nbsp; Perhaps we are moving towards a culture of respect and of trust in health care settings and in turn becoming more effective in our response to the HIV epidemic. Amongst the celebration and cheers it was nice to feel hopeful, even if just for a night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/more-than-just-pound-of-flesh">&quot;More than just a pound of flesh&quot;?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/aziza-ahmed/sterilized-against-our-will">Sterilized: against our will </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 50.50 50.50 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights Aziza Ahmed Mon, 19 Jul 2010 15:50:14 +0000 Aziza Ahmed 55207 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Aziza Ahmed https://www.opendemocracy.net/author-profile/aziza-ahmed <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Aziza Ahmed </div> </div> </div> <p>Aziza Ahmed is Associate Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law. She has worked as Project Manager/Research Associate at the Program on International Health and Human Rights, Harvard University.&nbsp; She was a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow with the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS where she helped to launch a project on the forced and coerced sterilization of HIV positive women in Namibia. </p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Aziza Ahmed is Assistant Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law. She has worked as Project Manager/Research Associate at the Program on International Health and Human Rights, Harvard University </div> </div> </div> Aziza Ahmed Wed, 02 Jun 2010 08:46:15 +0000 Aziza Ahmed 54569 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sterilized: against our will https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aziza-ahmed/sterilized-against-our-will <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> "Unfortunately there was one sterilization form that I was not aware of and I had already signed it." HIV positive women in Namibia take their case to court. </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This week three cases of forced and coerced sterilization of HIV positive women will be heard before the High Court in Namibia to seek compensatory damages for harm done to the individual women.&nbsp; The women are each suing the Ministry of Health and Social Transformation and are amongst the first cases in Africa in which women are seeking compensation.&nbsp; As a <a href="http://womensrights.change.org/petitions/view/end_the_forced_sterilization_of_hiv_positive_women_in_namibia">demonstration of support</a> protestors will convene at Namibian embassies and High Commissions in Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa and the United States, to demand justice.</p> <p>Forced and coerced sterilization came to the forefront of positive women’s activism in Namibia when in 2008 the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (<a href="http://www.icwglobal.org/files_en/0101f305b649495c0c3afcf663d078b9The%20forced%20and%20coerced%20sterilization%20of%20HIV%20positive%20women%20in%20Namibia%2009.pdf">ICW</a>) and the Namibia Women’s Health Network (<a href="../../../../../../../../article/5050/16_days/hiv_aids_namibia">NWHN</a>) began <a href="http://www.icw.org/node/421">documenting cases</a> of forced and coerced sterilization of HIV positive women. The news of the sterilizations emerged slowly, first amongst the <a href="http://www.athenanetwork.org/docs/ALQ-Mujeres_Adelante_--_March_2010.pdf">circles of support</a> developed to address the needs of positive women. In 2008, a team from ICW and NWHN led by <a href="http://www.stratshope.org/d-audio-jennifer.htm">Jennifer Gaits-Mallet</a> traveled to support groups around Namibia where women told us of their experiences of unwanted sterilization.&nbsp; Realizing the systematic nature of the sterilization of HIV positive women was startling as woman after woman raised her hand in group discussions to tell a story of a sterilization procedure that she had never consented to.</p> <p>“<em>Before I found out I was HIV positive and I was having a child I was okay.&nbsp; But after I tested positive they treated me badly.&nbsp; They said, "why do you want to have a baby if you are HIV positive</em>?”. The sterilizations occurred primarily when women were in labour and during caesarean sections – or while seeking related sexual and reproductive health services.&nbsp; In several instances women were given incomplete or <a href="http://www.salamandertrust.net/resources/WelbournIWDMarch09.pdf">incorrect</a> information about the realities of having a child while HIV positive. “<em>I did not get information that a person living positive can have babies.&nbsp; They just told me I must go for sterilization, so I went for it.&nbsp; It was not my idea.&nbsp; They said, ‘if you go for sterilization, it’s for your health and so you don’t spread the disease".</em></p> <p>The women’s experiences took place in an environment of stigma and discrimination practised by <a href="../../../../../../../../article/50-50/balancing-on-wheels-of-hope">hospital</a> staff who felt that HIV positive women should not be having children.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.icw.org/node/421">In our interviews</a>, doctors also expressed the belief that women did not know how best to care for their own bodies. To these physicians, this rationale justified making decisions on behalf of HIV positive women. " <em>The hospital staff said to us you are not supposed to have more kids because there is no-one supporting you.&nbsp; You cannot support yourself or your kid so it is best if you are sterilized.” </em></p> <p>Many more women continue to come forward to talk about having been forcibly sterilized.&nbsp; Several of these recently reported cases were documented by a fact-finding mission undertaken by the Human Rights Program at the Harvard Law School under the guidance of the <a href="http://www.athenanetwork.org/docs/ATHENA_NWHN_Case_Studies.pdf">Namibia Women’s Health Network</a> in April of this year where again, in site after site, women came forward to report their experience with health care providers who encouraged sterilization, and in many cases, carried out sterilization without informed consent.&nbsp; These additional cases further demonstrate that the practice of sterilizing women without their full and informed consent is spread throughout the country.</p> <p>The potential ramifications of mistreatment, stigma, and discrimination of HIV positive women are serious in all countries, and particularly so in Namibia where approximately <a href="http://data.unaids.org/pub/FactSheet/2008/sa08_nam_en.pdf">17.8%</a> percent of women accessing pregnancy services test HIV positive.&nbsp; Currently access to anti-retroviral therapy can mean that an HIV positive woman has less than a <a href="http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2007/prevention_hiv.pdf">2%</a> chance of having a child born with HIV.&nbsp; However, the systematic abuse of HIV positive women in hospital settings could deter women from trusting service providers and drive them away from hospital settings - making it increasingly difficult to reach HIV positive women, or indeed <em>any </em><a href="http://www.athenanetwork.org/docs/ALQ-Mujeres_Adelante_--_January_2010.pdf">pregnant</a> women who fear they <em>might</em> have HIV - and provide them with the care that they need.</p><p>The reports of cases of forced and coerced sterilization of HIV positive women are not exclusive to Namibia.&nbsp; After the initial report was released by ICW and NWHN, the organizations were contacted by other groups based throughout sub-Saharan Africa with concerns that HIV positive women were also being coercively <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW0cw3rSpYI">sterilized</a> in their own countries.&nbsp; Organizations are also beginning to address this issue in other regions of the world.&nbsp; The Center for Reproductive Rights and <a href="http://www.vivopositivo.org/portal/sitio/portada.htm">Vivo Positive</a> have recently supported an HIV positive <a href="http://reproductiverights.org/en/press-room/forcibly-sterilized-woman-files-international-case-against-chile">Chilean</a> woman to file a complaint against the Chilean government in the Inter American Court of Human Rights, stating that she was sterilized against her will due to her HIV status.</p> <p>The cases of forced and coerced sterilization in Namibia and elsewhere is indicative of an attitude held by many that HIV positive women and men should not be allowed to have children.&nbsp; Positive women will challenge this attitude in court this week with representation from the <a href="http://www.lac.org.na/">Litigation Assistance Center</a> and with support from several other organizations including NWHN, ICW, AIDS and Rights <a href="http://arasa.info/taxonomy/term/187">Alliance</a> for Southern Africa, and the Southern African Litigation Center.&nbsp; We will await the decision of the High Court in Namibia in the hope that it will not only recognize these grave wrong doings and the deep stigma that exists against HIV positive people desiring children, but that the decision of the court will be a tangible move towards ensuring that discrimination against positive individuals will no longer be tolerated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/thinking-positive">Thinking positive </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/content/balancing-on-wheels-of-hope">Balancing on Wheels of Hope</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/alice-welbourn/when-things-fall-apart">When things fall apart</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/a_war_against_women">HIV/Aids: a war on women</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/blog/email/sylvia-rowley/2009/03/01/hiv-and-womens-rights-in-uganda-why-a-new-law-would-hurt-women">HIV and women&#039;s rights in Uganda: why a new law would hurt women</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Civil society Culture Equality Pathways of Women's Empowerment Aziza Ahmed Wed, 02 Jun 2010 08:41:46 +0000 Aziza Ahmed 54568 at https://www.opendemocracy.net