NAC Belize Championing Anti-discrimination Bill
In 2004, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) Belize became a statutory body with a legal mandate for coordination, monitoring, advocacy action and policy development in relation to HIV and AIDS in Belize. Its Policy and Legislation Project then provided input into the National Policy on HIV and AIDS adopted in 2005.
The NAC’s constitution calls for the state to address the social and economic disparity between citizens and even acknowledges the need for non-discriminatory treatment in law by authorities. Differential treatment of women, children and other social groups in the workplace, school settings and communities calls for scaling up of Civil Rights legislation and regulations that examine standards for service delivery that affect the users of our health system who are impacted by socio-economic and civil rights issues that affect access to justice.
Without comprehensive HIV and AIDS laws, general anti-discrimination laws, or a human rights act to legally enforce non-discrimination against People Living with HIV (PLHIV), there will be challenges in ensuring equal access to prevention, care, treatment, and support by key populations, as well as the full enjoyment of PLHIV in all aspects of social, cultural, civil, and political life.
Hence, the NAC Belize has championed the cause of drafting an anti-discrimination bill based on the CARICOM Model Anti-Discrimination Bill. The bill aims to establish a comprehensive anti-discrimination law addressing multiple areas of discrimination in Belize.
The anti-discrimination bill is being supported jointly by Hon. Laura Tucker-Longsworth OBE, National AIDS Commission Chair and Ms Kim Simplis Barrow, First Lady of Belize, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Chair of the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN).
It is the goal of the NAC and its partners that by the end of 2019, Belize will have a robust and all-inclusive anti-discrimination law that effectively addresses stigma and discrimination.