In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Joe Amon, director of health and human rights at Human Rights Watch, points to Chinese government "discrimination and abuse" of HIV/AIDS activists and organizations. He charges that the international donor community has failed to hold China accountable for its actions. "On paper, the Chinese government has laws and policies that are protective of the rights of an estimated 700,000 people living with HIV in the country. In practice, these policies are frequently undermined by the actions of police and public security forces, who round up 'undesirables' such as sex workers and drug users and intimidate and censor civil society organizations working to expand HIV outreach," Amon writes.
While acknowledging that China has made "some strides against AIDS," Amon says some of the $1 billion in HIV funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria donations have been used to support compulsory drug detention centers, where patients report high rates of abuse. He also calls on the Global Fund to "speak out publicly about the harassment of Chinese AIDS activists and work with other donors to announce an end of funding for detention center programs. Funding efforts to keep people from being locked up, by expanding community-based drug dependency treatment, legal services and outreach to drug users -- not typically understood as 'health' interventions -- would save more lives."
"The International AIDS Conference focuses this year on human rights because abuses fuel the HIV epidemic. Governments and donors must dedicate themselves to ensuring that support for human rights is central to their response to AIDS," Amon concludes (7/11).
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