This month, Zimbabwe’s parliament finally agreed to repeal the country’s HIV-specific criminal law, section 79 of the Criminal Code. The significance of this cannot be underestimated. Zimbabwe becomes only the second country on the African continent to fully repeal its HIV-specific criminal law after the Democratic Republic of Congo repealed its law in 2018.
Although there have been remarkable advocacy successes elsewhere on the continent in preventing an HIV-specific criminal law being enacted in Malawi in 2017 and the suspension of one of Kenya’s two HIV-specific criminal laws on the grounds of unconstitutionality in 2015, it is rare for a sitting parliament to decide to completely repeal an HIV-specific criminal law.
The process was supported by a number of HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE partners, notably ARASA and SALC, along with other civil society organisations, including Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.