Kenyan lawyer Allan Maleche honoured with the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award

The fourth Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award will be bestowed to Kenya’s human rights lawyer and the Executive Director of KELIN, Allan Maleche. The award recognizes the efforts of individuals who have achieved major breakthroughs or shown exceptional courage in their efforts to advocate for human rights in the field of HIV.

With his colleagues at KELIN, Allan Maleche, who was named Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year 2016 as well as listed as one of the Top 40 under 40 men in the Kenyan Business Daily, has litigated landmark cases that halted the forced sterilization of women living with HIV. Maleche also stopped the unjust use of public health concerns as a reason to incarcerate people living with TB, and prevented the government of Kenya from making the names of children living with HIV available to the public.

“On behalf of my colleagues and the communities we serve, I am deeply honoured to accept the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award,” Allan Maleche said according to KELIN Kenya. “Despite the successes we have had, there are still many human rights issues we need to address. 

“We also need to respect the right to choice of people living with HIV, especially women. Women of reproductive age should not be denied the opportunity to use Dolutegravir (DTG). Instead, the government should solve the problems such as lack of access and choice for contraceptives. Women must be supported to have planned pregnancies and be granted DTG if they wish to take it,” added Allan Maleche.

The first winners of the award were Iranian physicians Arash and Kamiar Alaei in 2012, then Ugandan physician and gay rights activist Paul Semugoma in 2014, and Zimbabwean activist Martha Theolanah in 2016.

Allan Maleche. Courtesy: KELIN

Ahead of the award ceremony, IAS has hailed Maleche for his role in protecting the human rights of those affected by HIV and TB.

“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.”

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, Elizabeth made it clear that respecting the human rights of everyone living with and at risk for 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.”

Laela Wilding, Naomi deLuce Wilding and Quinn Tivey, grandchildren of Elizabeth Taylor and Ambassadors of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, will bestow the biannual award during the opening ceremony of the 22nd International AIDS Conference 2018 on the evening of Monday, 23 July, in Amsterdam. The presentation will take place on the same stage from which the famed actor and activist addressed the 8th International AIDS Conference in 1992.