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Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network -

Frank Mugisha video
and a challenge from the
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network!

A conversation with Frank Mugisha from AIDSLAW on Vimeo.

June 26, 2013

It has been a busy month at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. I write you today to share some of the work we have done, and to encourage you to participate in our $5,000 matching gift challenge .

Over the past weeks we have worked tirelessly on activities that further our vision - to ensure that the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV are fully realized. Consider just a few things we have done:

We spearheaded the rapid response to the introduction of Bill C-65, the federal government's latest effort to block the expansion of supervised consumption services and even shut down Vancouver's Insite. Soon after the bill was tabled in Parliament, we had our statement outlining its key flaws in the hands of all MPs and journalists across the country, and began to appear in national media with our critique. Our response was followed by powerful condemnation of the bill from other civil society organizations. A more detailed analysis of the bill, including why it's unconstitutional and bad public policy, is in the works.

We attended the launch in Bangkok of the new UNAIDS handbook for judges around the world on HIV and human rights, which was written by lawyers from the Legal Network.

We submitted our shadow report to the UN Human Rights Committee for its upcoming review of Ukraine, about the arbitrary arrest, disproportionate punishment, torture and ill-treatment of people who use drugs.

We filed our legal brief as intervener in the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bedford case, challenging the ongoing criminalization of sex work, and presented oral arguments to the Court at the hearing in Ottawa on June 13th

Finally, we welcomed two brilliant international guests - Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC) as part of our 5th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights. The Symposium brought together researchers, service providers, activists and others from across the country to learn, to share and to inspire each other in the ongoing fight for human rights.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network was honoured to host Frank in Canada. We arranged numerous interviews with the media and raised awareness across the country on the challenges and dangers facing the LGBT community in Uganda, as well as the community organizing to resist the anti-gay bill pending before that country's parliament. We also facilitated direct talks between Frank and government officials, including the office of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. These talks will be helpful in securing Canada's ongoing constructive support to Frank's advocacy efforts.

We were also thrilled to have Catherine with us, working to highlight the lessons of New Zealand that prove that decriminalizing sex work means workers' health and human rights are better protected and respected. It's critically important that Canadians be aware of these alternative approaches, as there are voices, including some in Parliament, calling for new ways of criminalizing sex work, which is ultimately to the detriment of sex workers.

We are able to do this work because of your continued support. For more details about all of the work we have done in 2012-2013, I encourage you to take a look at our most recent annual report which can be found online and see how the Legal Network has been " empowering people and fighting for change ."

Finally, we're very pleased to share some fantastic news: during the Symposium, Andrew Beckerman, a supporter of the Legal Network, pledged $5,000 to our organization if we can raise the matching funds by July 15, 2013 . Please, if you are able, consider making a donation today .

Thank you for supporting the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and we look forward to seeing you in the future.

In solidarity,

Richard Elliott, Executive Director

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network ( ) promotes the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, advocacy and litigation, public education and community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada 's leading advocacy organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

For more information:
Janet Butler-McPhee
Director of Communications
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
416-595-1666 ext. 228 / 416-268-2549 (cell)

Reproduced with permission - "Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network"

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

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