Rhetoric of Rights to Reality of Rights – A Human Rights-based Response to TB
Lately TB and Human Rights has gained a lot of attention and progress towards Human Rights as an integral component of TB response. A rights based response in TB was not considered until a couple of years ago.
The Global Coalition of TB Activists (GCTA) has been in the forefront of these efforts and discussions. Knowing our rights is the first crucial step but what next is something that is more important and needs serious consideration because knowing our rights and consequent cognizance of those rights being violated without any knowledge or recourse to pathways for change can be frustrating and disempowering.
“The intricate nexus between a lack of respect for the human rights of those infected with TB and the incidence and spread of TB must be recognised if the campaign to stop TB is to have any chance of succeeding. When we take other than a human rights based approach to dealing with TB, we inadvertently fuel its spread and condemn those infected to poverty, for discrimination may hinder their access to health services and limit their opportunities for employment and income earning activities.” – Justice Grace Mumbi Ngugi, Judge High Court of Kenya.
GCTA took it upon itself to make Human Rights in TB response a reality and began to engage with the legal community and partners to start a dialogue and find solutions together. This led GCTA, North-western University and the Stop TB partnership to organise, ‘A Human Rights-based Response to TB’ Workshop on 31 October 2019 in Hyderabad, India on the side-lines of the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health. This workshop created history by being the first ever workshop to bring affected community members and representatives of the legal community from across the globe. The workshop had representation from Nepal, India, Cambodia, Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia and Botswana.
“The global TB response has just awoken to the power of human rights. As we stand at the beginning of what seems like a new paradigm – with high-level political commitments, new technologies, and rush of new ideas – it’s time to move past the ‘Rhetoric of Rights’ to the ‘Reality of Rights’. If we stand any chance to End TB, we must harness the power of law and human rights to end stigma and discrimination and to empower and support people affected by TB around the world.”- Brian Citro, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, North-western Pritzker School of Law, Chicago.
This is only the beginning and we commit to keep these conversations open and proceed forward working towards a stigma free people centred, rights based response to TB where every individual seeking care and needing care is treated with dignity and respect.
#ItsTimeforTB – ACT NOW!