TB is not a crime (#TBisnotacrime)

10 March 2017 - Geneva, Switzerland - A two-day TB and Human Rights Nairobi Strategy Consultation organized by Stop TB Partnership, in collaboration with KELIN and the University of Chicago with support from USAID concluded today with a clear pathway towards strengthening the human rights and TB efforts. The Stop TB Partnership is making efforts to ensure that 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.

People affected by TB, communities, civil society, judges, lawyers, academics, clinicians, donors and multi-lateral representatives made up the participants that were engaged in a robust dialogue which contributed to a continuation on the development of a human rights based approach to TB. The Nairobi Strategy on TB and Human Rights offers concrete plans to implement human rights programs and activities at local, regional and global levels. Participants welcomed the initiative and provided further input, with further consultations scheduled over the course of the year.

During the consultation, the Tuberculosis, Human Rights and the Law Case Compendium was launched. The compendium was developed and written by the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School as part of the TB and Human Rights Consortium, with support provided by the Global Drug-Resistant Initiative of the Stop TB Partnership.

The compendium is the first of its kind to present summaries of legal decisions involving TB from around the world. It contains more than 70 cases from 20 jurisdictions with translations of judgments in five languages, including from Brazil, China, India and other high burden countries. The compendium provides a global snapshot of the current state of TB case law, highlighting both the progress made in some areas and gaps in others. Cases are organized into 11 categories based on the issues involved. It will first be used in the Southern African Litigation Center lawyers training March 13-16, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"I am extremely happy to see our work with amazing people having the skill-set and expertise to address TB and human rights -- lawyers, judges, and people affected by TB. Our interventions should always protect the rights of all people suffering because of TB and if we do this we will be able to change the trajectory of the current epidemic," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

In December 2016, the Stop TB Partnership 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).

"The consultation created real momentum to refine and implement the Nairobi Strategy on TB and Human Rights. A wide spectrum of stakeholders shared their expertise on how to improve the document and implement particular activities. I'm excited to see how we can move forward from here, including to raise the profile of the Strategy during the UNGA High-Level meeting on TB and at the Minister's Conference in Moscow later this year," said Dr Brian Citro, Associate Director, University of Chicago Law School IHR Clinic.

"This consultation provided an opportunity for more stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to provide more support and interest to roll out the Strategy and I think this is the right step to help provide the best ways to ensure that human rights is a key consideration in TB programs and activities." said Allan Maleche, Executive Director KELIN.

The Stop TB Partnership is also collaborating with the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University to further advance the evidence base by developing a framework for TB and Human Rights. The two organizations will develop joint reports in which they identify existing human rights frameworks, and also develop concrete human rights tools addressing TB prevention and care, and to protect vulnerable populations. The main goal is to try to advance evidence based human rights approaches to TB, and develop concrete tools that can have an impact at the country level. In doing this, we will try to also include TB in the agenda of leading human rights organizations, at the UN and regional level.

"It is time that we move forward with actually using human rights law to improve TB prevention and care at the country level. Although in its early stages, we are hopeful that our collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership will be impactful and will improve the lives of people living with TB," said Professor Oscar Cabrera, Executive Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global health Law, and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

"A human rights based approach to TB is the imperative of our time." -- Justice Oagile Dingkake

"If I what I understand about the gravity of TB is the reality and I believe it is, then this consultation is on of the most important events as it brought people together who are working to help stop TB by addressing human rights. I hope that the work we are doing has the impact and can change policy makers to stop TB and suffering." -- Justice Mumbi

Please see here for the agenda and the full list of participants.