July 23, 2018

The Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award honours Kenyan lawyer Allan Achesa Maleche

Written by International AIDS Society

This press release originally appeared on the AIDS 2018 website. Reposted with permission.

Sunday, 22 July 2018 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – The International AIDS Society (IAS), amfAR and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation have announced that the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award will be presented to the pioneering Kenyan attorney, Allan Achesa Maleche, at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

“Allan Maleche knows that the law is a powerful tool to protect human rights,” IAS President Linda-Gail Bekker said. “As a tireless crusader for the rights of people living with and affected by HIV and TB, Allan has achieved legal victories that have not only protected individuals. They have also led to smarter, more effective policies that reject stigma and discrimination and advance more humane and effective approaches to ending the twin epidemics of HIV and TB.”

Maleche is the first executive director of the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN). With his colleagues, he has litigated landmark cases that halted the forced sterilization of women living with HIV, stopped the unjust use of public health concerns as a reason to incarcerate people living with TB, prevented the government of Kenya from making the names of children living with HIV available to the public and much more. Under his leadership, KELIN has gained an international reputation for confronting powerful institutions and winning landmark cases protecting the rights of people affected by HIV and tuberculosis.

“There are many days when the challenges we face in Kenya and in so many other countries around the world can seem endless,” Allan Maleche said. “They are a reminder that human rights must be fought for every day.

“This award recognizes how critical rights-based approaches are to the HIV and TB responses. It is a wonderful honour that will inspire me and my colleagues in our continued work to protect the human rights of everyone affected by these epidemics.”

Quinn Tivey, Trustee of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation said, “Twenty-six years ago, my grandmother Elizabeth Taylor focused the world’s attention on this epidemic at the 8th International AIDS Conference here in Amsterdam. Whenever she spoke about AIDS, my grandmother made it clear that respecting the human rights of everyone living with and at risk of HIV is the only way to end the epidemic. She would have been proud to see this award go to such a dedicated human rights crusader, Allan Achesa Maleche.”

“We are proud to support this recognition of Allan Maleche and all of the women and men of KELIN,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “Their work proves that the most effective laws and policies put human rights at the forefront of the HIV and TB response.”

Tivey and his cousins Laela Wilding and Naomi Wilding will present the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award to Maleche as part of the opening ceremony at AIDS 2018, which begins at 19:30 on Monday, 23 July, at the Amsterdam RAI. The presentation will take place on the same stage from which the famed actor and activist addressed the 8th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 1992).