Stop TB Partnership and partners #standup for the rights of people affected by TB

09 December 2016 - Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership leads the way to help safeguard the rights of people with TB. In a series of initiatives, the Partnership is rallying partners and calling for unity in publicly lobbying for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity on the eve of International Human Rights Day, a commemorative day celebrated every year to call for people to know and push for their rights no matter where they are in the world.

The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 calls for a human rights and gender based approach to TB that is grounded in international, regional and domestic law that establish rights to health, nondiscrimination, privacy and freedom of movement, and enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress, among others. The Global Plan acknowledges that TB programming will not be successful unless global and national programs utilize approaches grounded in human rights and gender equity.

There are many people living with and affected by TB who face human rights challenges on a daily basis. For this International Human Rights Day, we are calling for the rights of people with TB to be respected. The Stop TB Partnership collaborated with civil society, donors, implementers, UN agencies and our Secretariat staff who have today lent their voice to stand up for the rights of people with TB. Here is a link with some of our videos. For a full list of the videos, please see here the other statements in over 15 different languages and dialects. We encourage you to also post your own videos and to tag us: @stoptb on Twitter and our Facebook Page.

In another landmark initiative, the Stop TB Partnership will start formal agreements with internationally recognized organizations and institutions with expertise in human rights. As part of this, today we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN) and the University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic (IHR Clinic). TB is not just a medical problem but a social problem as well, and yet ethical and legal issues around TB have been neglected for far too long.

"Everyone has the right to a healthy, happy life. It is inconceivable that in 2016, we are seeing a rollback of the protection of human rights globally. This is why we decided that we can no longer be silent. We decided to stand up for the rights of people affected by TB starting with us in the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat. We now call on our close partners and friends to join our efforts. We need concrete action on human rights today and everyday," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

TB has surpassed HIV as the top infectious disease killer in the world and the global threat from multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) continues to grow. However, new approaches are needed to address social, economic, and structural factors driving the epidemic and drug resistance. A human rights-based approach to TB establishes the rights of people living with and vulnerable to TB, including the rights to life, health, nondiscrimination, privacy, participation, information, liberty of movement, housing, food, water, and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. This includes access to the most recent diagnostic tools and treatment. Human rights law also creates corresponding legal obligations of governments and responsibilities of private actors, promoting accountability and access to remedies for rights violations.

In response to the Global Plan calls for a human rights based approach KELIN, IHR Clinic, Stop TB and the numerous participants of the workshop held in Nairobi in June 2016 developed the Nairobi Strategy.

The key components of the Nairobi Strategy are to:

The strategy includes several streams of work that will foster diverse, focused and sustained advocacy efforts directed at key stakeholders, including policymakers, legislators, health care workers and judicial officers, led by people with TB, TB survivors and other allies.

"We are losing the fight against TB. At this point, it’s uncontroversial that recognition and protection of human rights is a key element in the global fight against HIV. It’s time we recognize and protect the rights of people with TB as well, and work in coordination with the scientific and public health communities to use the law as a tool to eliminate the disease," said Dr Brian Citro, Associate Director, University of Chicago Law School IHR Clinic.

"We have come to appreciate through our work that a rights based approach is an important component if we are to win the fight against TB by 2030 as set out in the SDGs. With this strategy we seek to ensure that all players are made aware, embrace the principles of human rights and integrate them in their work, as they carry on with programming of TB. We are proud to be in partnership with these two brilliant organizations and welcome other’s to join as we seek to safeguard the rights of people with TB" said Allan Maleche, Executive Director KELIN

The Stop TB Partnership, KELIN and the University of Chicago seek your input, comments and feedback to the Nairobi Strategy. The full document is available here. Please send your comments to no later than 15 January 2017.