Aids Law Project Broadens Its Mandate to Include Food, Education and Human Rights

Cape Times (South Africa), May 10, 2010 | Go to article overview

Aids Law Project Broadens Its Mandate to Include Food, Education and Human Rights


BYLINE: KERRY CULLINAN Health-e News.

WHEN HIV-positive prisoners at Durban's Westville Prison started dying because the government did not have a proper treatment plan for them, they turned to the Aids Law Project (ALP).

When the SANDF refused to employ HIV-positive people, the ALP took on the defence force and won.

The Aids Law Project also helped secure cheaper medicine prices by helping in the government's case against the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.

Over the years since its launch in 1993, the ALP has become synonymous with legal activism aimed at protecting people living with HIV/Aids. A cornerstone of its success has been its close partnership with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which mobilised ordinary people to fight for the rights of people with HIV.

Since Friday, the ALP is to become part of Section 27, a non-profit organisation that will focus on all "the socio-economic conditions that undermine human dignity and development, prevent poor people from reaching their full potential and lead to the spread of diseases that have a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable and marginalised".

The NGO is named after Section 27 of the constitution, which states that everyone has the right to access to health-care services, enough food and water, and social security.

But the organisation faces a potential legal battle over the right to use the name, Section 27 as the Companies and Intellectual Properties Registration Organisation (Cipro) claims that this name is the preserve of the government only.

According to a letter from Cipro, the name "connotes governmental patronage. The wording employed to serve as a name cannot be allowed and is calculated to cause damage moreover misleading and undesirable" (sic) and that a clause in the constitution is "a government issue".

Director Mark Heywood explained the reasons for the NGO's name change. …

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