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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


JOHNSON, Robert. The Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa: Third World Approaches to International Law insights into a human rights-based approach. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2009, vol.9, n.1, pp.129-159. ISSN 1996-2096.

Legislating in response to the HIV epidemic is a core element of the global HIV strategy. A human rights-based approach is essential in order to comply with international law as well as to ensure effectiveness. This stands in contrast to punitive measures and criminalisation provisions within HIV legislation. Third World states are entitled to be cautious about a purportedly human rights-based approach and an explicit conformity with international law that have their institutional origins in advancing Western hegemonic interests. The insights of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) are important in harnessing international human rights law as a necessarily transformative framework that is effective in meeting its globally equitable and social justice character. This is especially so for the Southern African model law on HIV. TWAIL provide critical guidance relating to context and strategy for Southern African states in this regard and the model law, in turn, offers important opportunities in advancing TWAIL objectives in its counter-hegemonic struggle for global equity and justice. The Southern African model law on HIV is strongly compliant with international human rights principles and obligations and relevant to effectively address the nature of the HIV epidemic in the region. The domestic adoption of the model law across Southern African states has the potential to fulfil a strategically crucial transformative role in advancing Third World resistance.

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