AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF LAW IN THE PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF RIGHTS OF CHILDREN LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IN NIGERIA

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF LAW IN THE PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF RIGHTS OF CHILDREN LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

In Nigeria since the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in 1986, HIV prevalence has increase significantly. This increase has become very worrisome to the Nigerian society because large number of children who are living with HIV/AIDS suffers from discriminatory practices and stigmatization. The concerns for these maltreatments at various levels despite the existing laws on the protection of these children generally constitute the problem of this research work. The research is therefore aimed at examining the role of law in the protection and promotion of rights of children living with HIV/AIIDS in Nigeria, by analysing various provisions of international, regional and national laws regarding the subject matter of the study. However, part of the findings of this research work is that despite the availability of information on HIV/AIDS pandemic children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria still faced a lot of challenges as it exposes them to different kind of discriminatory practises which include stigmatization, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, isolation, inaccessibility to health and public services and the Nigeria government has done little to protect and promote the right of these children. Also the existing laws that protect the rights of these children are inadequate and lack legal backing. The researcher concluded this work with recommendations that there was need to develop a national policy that will directly and effectively protect people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Also adequate legal protection should be given a great attention and consideration in relation to issue of protection of rights of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. In doing so, legislation and policies in relation to issue of children in the context of HI/AIDS should be enacted and the existing ones should be review. Creating awareness by involving journalist and lawyers be will a great help and also people with HIV/AIDS should be educated on the impact of HIV/AIDS and the Laws and Policies that are in their favour which will help them to enforce their rights. Finally, government should budget more on HIV/AIDS issues and regarding issues of discrimination and stigmatization a law should be put in place to prosecute anyone who so ever discriminates against people with HIV/AIDS. The sources of information relied upon for this research is relevant text materials, statues, judicial authorities, journals and internet materials.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

There is no doubt that one of the greatest health problem threatening human races

presently is the HIV/AID pandemic. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a massive and rapidly

mounting disaster for children.1 Almost 3 million children are infected with the HIV virus or

living with AIDS.2 More than 14 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both

parents to AIDS, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.3

Globally, it is estimated that 1,150 children become infected with HIV daily and 2.5

million children are living with HIV worldwide4 while 80% of these children are from sub-

Sahara Africa.5 While many children are infected with HIV/AIDS many more are also

affected by this epidemic as it is estimated that 15 million children under 18 years have lost

one or both parents to AIDS with the majority of 12 million children whom are from sub-

Sahara Africa.6

In Nigeria, according to UNICEF7 statistic it shows that 3.6 million people are living

with HIV while 300.000 children are infected with HIV/AIDS.8 With over 3 million people

living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, stigmatization and discrimination are rife against them.

Studies have shown that on daily basis children with HIV/AIDS encounter human rights

abuse.9

1Children HIV and AIDS, (2011), P.4 www.avert.org/aids-hiv Retrieved on 25-5-2014, 18:26 2 Ibid.

3 Laurie, A. G.: The Frame for the Protection, Care and Support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living in a World with HIV/AIDS, (2004), P.10. www.unicef.icdc.org/research,Retrieved on 15-8-2014, 17:20.

4 Children HIV and AIDS, (2011), P.4 www.avert.org/aids-hiv Retrieved on 25-5-2014, 18:26 5 Ibid.


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