Dr Alice Storey, Dr Amna Nazir and Professor Jon Yorke, who are all part of Birmingham City University’s Centre for Human Rights, were recently selected to attend an event at the United Nations (UN). The research group attended the event alongside government representatives, in order to raise awareness of human rights concerns within the African country of Namibia.
The research group regularly engage with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which reviews human rights concerns and violations in every country. As part of The UPR Project at BCU, Alice, Amna and Jon are working on a range of challenges, including abolishing the death penalty, Islamophobia, climate change and women’s rights.
On Friday 26 March 2021, the UPR Project served as a panellist for Namibia’s UPR pre-session, based upon a report the team submitted regarding the rights of women and girls living with HIV in the country.
Alice Storey highlights the importance of this issue in Namibia:
“Women and girls make up 60 percent of those infected with HIV in Namibia, and while the government has made significant progress in tackling the epidemic, women and girls are still facing stigmatisation.
“This has led to women being afraid of seeking out testing for HIV and ultimately not receiving antiretroviral treatment. As such, this serious issue must be addressed.”
Alice’s attendance at the UPR pre-session enabled her to inform global government delegations about this serious issue, and to encourage them to make recommendations on this issue at Namibia’s UPR in May. She has been in communication with numerous government representatives on this issue.
During Alice’s session, a representative from Namibia’s Ministry of Justice invited herself and the panellists to engage in a consultation with the Namibian government.
Alice explains, “This will see me working with the government to try to implement strategies to tackle stigmatisation of women and girls with HIV. The initial consultation will take place over the next month, prior to Namibia’s UPR in May.
“Namibia is not alone in needing to tackle gender equality, but it’s vital that as a starting point this issue is discussed during Namibia’s UPR in May. This will encourage the Namibian government to put the stigmatisation of women with HIV as a priority action.”