Our Perspective

      • The unfinished business of the AIDS response | Mandeep Dhaliwal

        29 Nov 2012

        image
        HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care programme in South Sudan. Photo: UNDP South Sudan

        HIV responses worldwide have achieved remarkable progress. At the end of 2011, more than 8 million people were accessing life-saving HIV treatment—a 20-fold increase from 2003. New HIV infections have also dropped sharply in numerous countries, including some with high HIV prevalence. But social exclusion, inequalities, and human rights violations continue to drive the spread of HIV and other diseases, with a disproportionate impact on women and marginalized populations. These include men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people.  According to a 2012 report by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, discriminatory and punitive legal environments, violence, and other abuses are also helping spread HIV. Doing a better job of enforcing protective legislation and ensuring that social protection policies cover those affected by HIV can contribute to more inclusive, effective, and efficient HIV responses—leading in turn to reduced inequalities and more resilient people and communities. For the first time in the history of the AIDS response, domestic investments in HIV have surpassed international assistance: 80 countries increased domestic investment in national HIV responses by more than 50 percent from 2006-2011. All the more reason to strengthen national capacity for implementing rights based Read More

      • International justice begins at home

        21 Nov 2012

        image
        Timorese Judges being sworn in and taking oaths. Credit: UNDP Timor Leste

        The restoration of justice and the punishment of those who commit human rights abuses can be vital first steps in peacebuilding; both for countries recovering from conflict, and for societies trying to overcome the trauma of violence. In March this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first permanent criminal court mandated to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity, handed down its first judgment since being established in 2002. Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty of using children under the age of 15 in armed hostilities. This judgment inaugurated a new age where the ICC acts as a court of last resort. This notion, called “complementarity,” forms the founding principle of the ICC, which believes that the primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting serious crimes rests with national authorities and states. If countries are willing and able, justice is best delivered where the crimes occurred. However, many post-conflict countries do not have the capacity to conduct such investigations. Even if the political will exists, domestic judicial systems often lack adequate witness protection services, prison facilities, and other resources to conduct fair trials. To realize the complementarity principle, there needs to be a closer relationship Read More

      • Remembering Sandy’s many victims

        09 Nov 2012

        image
        Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Nicaro, Mayarí municipality, Cuba. UN Photo/UNDP/AIN FOTO/Juan Pablo Carreras

        Hurricane Sandy, which caused mayhem when it made landfall here on 29 October, killed over 110 people in the United States. The cost of damage has been estimated at over US$ 50 billion in the US and the lives of millions of those in New York, where I live, have been disrupted. North America however, was in fact the last of many stops on Sandy's tour of destruction. Sandy was one of the largest Atlantic hurricanes on record. The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and many other countries have suffered terrible losses. In Haiti, which has yet to fully recover from the 2010 earthquake, more than 54 people were killed and over 200,000 are now homeless. Health workers are scrambling to ensure that the storm damage does not hasten the spread of infectious diseases, including cholera. In Cuba, nearly a million people have been directly affected; the roofs of more than 43,000 homes have been ripped off by the high winds; at least 375 health centres and 2,100 schools have been damaged and many roads and bridges are impassable. Some 30,000 people have been displaced in the Dominican Republic. Here in the New York/New Jersey area, there is much to Read More