AIDS and the politics of rights in South Africa: A contested terrain [Book Review]

Human Rights Review 7 (2):115-129 (2006)
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The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa has drawn particular attention in recent years, not only because of the country's high rates of infection but also because of the highly contentious debates between the state, AIDS NGOs, and scientists over AIDS policy. The national AIDS lobby in South Africa, including groups such as the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), has been forcefully articulating a rights-based discourse as a strategy to realize particular normative claims on the state. I examine these recent public debates and challenges to the human rights based response to AIDS that has gained consensus internationally among AIDS NGOs, governments, doctors and medical researchers. I explore the limitations of framing political demands in terms of the constitution and within a rights-based discourse in the present are of globalization and neo-liberalism, where the state’s capacity to respond to the social welfare demands of its citizens has declined, and where the protection of universal human rights requires that powerful transnational actors, in addition to the state, be held democratically accountable



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Krista Johnson
Jefferson State Community College

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