Regional HIV, TB and Human Rights Award presented to human rights organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo
23 May 2017 , Johannesburg, South Africa –Plaideurs des Enfants et des Personnes âgées à Risque (PEPA) based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was awarded the 2017 AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) HIV, TB and Human Rights award, at a ceremony held today in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The award, established in 2007, recognises organisations across southern and east Africa for their ground-breaking work on HIV, TB and protect human rights, often in extremely challenging political climates”, explained Michaela Clayton, Director of ARASA. “The award is accompanied by a grant to support the recipient organisation to implement interventions to strengthen a human rights-based response to HIV and TB”.
PEPA advocates for respect for human rights for prisoners, provides assistance to victims of human rights violations, orphans and vulnerable children and survivors of gender-based violence in DRC and Uganda. The organisation provides access to education, healthcare services, commodities, humanitarian aid and legal assistance. PEPA has also been training representatives of provincial and national government, police service, civil society and judges on the rights of prisoners and engaging Members of Parliament for the adoption of laws aimed at improving the living conditions and access to health services for prisoners.
“We are extremely honoured to receive this award. PEPA works in eastern DRC, a conflict zone and one of the most violent regions in the DRC, with high levels of human rights abuses. Despite this and with very limited financial resources, PEPA has accomplished a tremendous amount of work in 2016 in terms of engaging political leaders, advocating for the respect of human rights and providing basic assistance to people living with HIV and vulnerable communities,” said Appolinaire Zagabe, Executive Director of PEPA.
The award ceremony was held on the evening of 23 May at the conclusion of ARASA’s 2017 Annual Partnership Forum, during which ARASA’s 116 partners reviewed the status of HIV, TB and human rights in the region, and identified emerging human rights challenges for prioritisation in the next year.