Tackling HIV-related discrimination: SANAC and Legal Aid train paralegals

Jun 10, 2017 | News

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End boards from the SAnAC stigma and discrimination TV campaign which promotes the use of Legal Aid services to people living with HIV and TB

To breathe life into its work on stigma and discrimination, SANAC recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Legal Aid South Africa.
Legal Aid SA is an independent statutory body which offers professional legal services to those who would not otherwise have access to legal services.

“Access to legal services for people living with HIV, people who are already made vulnerable by poverty, unemployment and other social issues, is central to a more effective response to HIV and TB,” said Dr Fareed Abdullah, CEO of SANAC. “We are optimistic that our partnership with Legal Aid will give people living with HIV a port of call when they need it.

”Legal Aid plays an important role in guaranteeing protection from discrimination and granting people redress for rights violations, such as ed from one’s job for being HIV-positive.

The MOU has been signed between SANAC and Legal Aid primarily in order to provide quality legal advice and services in matters relating to HIV and TB stigma and discrimination or related matters. Legal services will be provided by paralegals at the call centre and promotion of access to legal services at Justices Centres across the country.

Before the rolling out of the project to Justices Centres, 80 Legal Aid South Africa paralegals and call centre staff were trained by WebberWentzel Attorneys, SECTION27 and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The training included a structured programme of HIV and TB human rights education which will enable Legal Aid staff to handle HIV and TB discrimination and related matters.

The new phase of SANAC’s stigma and discrimination will market the services offered by Legal Aid, through TV and radio public service announcements across a wide range of South African media.

“The campaign is a call-to-action, which we hope will drive usage of the call centre when people living with HIV and TB are faced with stigma-related issues that may warrant legal intervention,” said Nelisiwe Masina, Corporate Communications Manager at Legal Aid SA.