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01.12.2005 Health

Address gender equity as HIV/AIDS issue - Ark Foundation

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Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - The Ark Foundation on Wednesday asked the Government to address gender inequity as an abuse in its own right as a central element of HIV/AIDS policy and programmes.

It said the Government should also ensure the promotion and protection of HIV/AIDS-related human rights defined in existing international treaties such as the rights to education, free association, information and non- discrimination.

"These rights are essential in preventing the spread of HIV and to mitigate the social and economic impact of the pandemic," it said in a statement issued in connection with World Aids Day, which falls on Thursday.

It asked for the reform of laws to protect women's rights, especially in the areas of inheritance, sexual violence, domestic violence and spousal rape, among other things. The Ark asked the Government to implement programmes designed to address women's rights violations and improve enforcement of women's rights.

It should also ensure that national HIV/AIDS programmes included concrete measures to combat discrimination and violence against women and to provide training for judges, Police and other officials on women's rights.

The Ark noted that human rights were inextricably linked with the spread of HIV/AIDS on individuals and communities around the world. "The relationship between HIV/AIDS and human rights includes increased vulnerability of certain groups such as women, particularly young women, who are more vulnerable to contracting the HIV virus because they are unable to realise their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights," the statement said.

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