Sara L.M. Davis
AIDS 2018 is honoring human rights advocates and acknowledging their work is becoming ever more challenging in many countries. At the opening ceremony, the Elizabeth Taylor award went to Kenyan rights advocate Allan Maleche, executive director of KELIN. He won the award for KELIN’s successful litigation for the rights of people living with HIV and TB in Kenya.
In accepting the award, Maleche said, “There are many days when the challenges we face in Kenya and globally can seem endless. Human rights are never really secure—they must be fought for every day. Even with the advancements in science in the HIV world, the stigma and human rights violations remain the same.”
He said the award would be a huge boost to his organization to continue their work serving affected communities in Kenya.
“The story of HIV is a story of social justice and human rights,” said Quinn Tivey, grandson of Dame Elizabeth Taylor who took up AIDS activism in the 1980s, founding organizations and foundations in outrage over the treatment of her friends and colleagues. International AIDS Society (IAS) president Linda-Gail Bekker called Maleche a “tireless crusader” for the rights of people living with HIV and affected by TB, noting that KELIN had “used the law as a powerful tool.”
Maleche affirmed the cause of 23 women who have written to UNAIDS about sexual harassment, saying, “I believe them and I stand in solidarity with them. We look to the UN to set the standard on human rights and gender equality. We are not there yet.” Maleche also leads the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board.
Sara L.M. Davis, Ph.D. (aka Meg) is an anthropologist and writer. Her forthcoming book is The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health