Strong HIV and Human Rights Activist appointed as new UN Special Rapporteur

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Strong HIV and Human Rights Activist appointed as new UN Special Rapporteur

11 July 2008

20080702_AnandGrover_vertic.jpg
Anand Grover, head of the HIV/AIDS
Unit of Lawyer’s Collective (India)
and a member of the UNAIDS
Reference Group on HIV and
Human Rights

Anand Grover, head of the HIV/AIDS Unit of Lawyer’s Collective (India) and a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, has been appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health by the UN Human Rights Council.

A well-known long-time advocate and activist on HIV and human rights, Anand Grover is a practicing lawyer in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court of India. He has argued many cases relating to the rights of people living with HIV, including rights of sex workers and the first HIV case in India relating to employment law.

Mr. Grover has worked closely with UNAIDS on HIV-related rights and law issues for many years and has been a valuable resource for the Programme. In this regard, he has served on the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights which advises UNAIDS on how it can strengthen the commitment and capacity of governments, civil society and the private sector to protect and promote human rights in relation to HIV. At the request of the Government of India, Anand Grover and the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit drafted the HIV Bill which is likely to be introduced in Parliament this year.

Mr Grover takes over from Paul Hunt, who has been the Special Rapporteur since the mandate was created in 2002 and has completed his maximum term of six years. Paul Hunt is also a member of UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights. In his country visits and reports to the Human Rights Council, Mr Hunt has been a great champion of human rights issues related to HIV.

Susan Timberlake, UNAIDS Senior Human Rights and Law Adviser, believes that UNAIDS engagement with Special Rapporteurs is an important way to bring greater attention to HIV-related human rights issues globally and in countries.

“We are delighted at the appointment of Anand Grover to UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. A tireless HIV and human rights activist, he will no doubt continue the pioneering work of his predecessor Paul Hunt. We look forward to working closely with him to help ensure the full realization of the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are critical to a successful response to HIV.”

Special Rapporteurs

Special Rapporteurs are independent experts that serve in their personal capacity, supported by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). They undertake country missions at the invitation of a country or on the basis of a standing invitation. During such country missions, they assess the general human rights situation, as well as specific issues under their respective mandates. They meet with national and local authorities, including judges and parliamentarians; the national human rights institution; the UN and other inter-governmental agencies; the media and victims of human rights violations.

On the basis of their findings, they present conclusions and recommendations through public reports to the UN Human Rights Council, and to the concerned governments. Special Rapporteurs also have a mandate to take up individual cases of human rights violations which they address directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a country.

More information about the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (including reports of country missions and summaries of communications to governments) can be found on the OHCHR web site