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Past recipients

 

2012 International Recipient: Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice

Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social JusticeThe Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice, established in 2009, is a grassroots organization in Moscow, Russia, with the mission of promoting and developing humane drug policy based on tolerance, protection of health, dignity and human rights. The Foundation engages in four key strategies to advance its mission: advocacy, “watchdog,” service provision, and capacity-building of affected communities and individuals. The founder, Anya Sarang, has been closely involved with harm reduction development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia through her membership in the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network. She has also been involved in research on drug use and HIV, including epidemiological and behavioural studies, and qualitative research on issues such as barriers to harm reduction services, police and human rights, access to HIV treatment, management of drug use, prisons, and drug policy.

2012 Canadian Recipient: Dr. Philip Berger

Dr Philip BergerDr. Philip Berger is the chief of the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the medical director of St. Michael’s Hospital’s renowned Inner City Health Program. Outside of leading one of the best family practice teams in Canada, he is a dedicated physician who specializes in HIV/AIDS — treating patients with HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began. As a member of the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, he has been a leading advocate on finding health solutions for people living with HIV/AIDS.

2011 International Recipient: Dr. Robert Carr and Caribbean Vulnerable Communities

Dr. Robert Carr, CVC co-founder As the past executive director of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), Dr. Robert Carr worked tirelessly to advance the cause of those most vulnerable to HIV and those ostracized as a result of living with it. He was a leading voice raising taboo subjects such as drug use, sex work and sex between men and insisting that governments put an end to violence and abuse. He was co-Chair of the Global Forum on MSM and HIV, a global advocacy network specifically dedicated to the needs and well-being of gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as co-Chair of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. He passed away unexpectedly at his Toronto home in early May 2011.

Co-founded in 2004 by Dr. Carr, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) is a coalition of community leaders and non-governmental agencies providing services directly to and on behalf of Caribbean populations who are especially vulnerable to HIV infection or often forgotten in access to treatment and health-care programs. CVC recognizes the critical importance of engaging marginalized groups in the fight against HIV. Realizing that hostile, sometimes violent prejudice drives marginalized groups underground and makes them invisible, CVC is committed to promoting leadership among them and working to strengthen their capacity to act on their own behalf to demand equal rights as key to protect against HIV and ensure access to services.

2011 Canadian Recipient: Prisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network

Prisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network / Cell CountPrisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN) is a community-based prisoners’ rights organization that strives to provide advocacy, education and support to prisoners and ex-prisoners on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other harm reduction issues. PASAN formed in 1991 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis in the Canadian prison system. Today, PASAN is the only community-based organization in Canada exclusively providing HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C prevention education and support services to prisoners, ex-prisoners, youth in custody and their families.

Currently serving over 600 active clients, PASAN operates the only national AIDS Hotline specifically for prisoners, as well as individual support counseling, advocacy, pre-release planning and referrals for prisoners and youth in custody living with HIV/AIDS, primarily in the Ontario region institutions. PASAN has also published numerous resources, including the first study ever done on women and HIV/AIDS in prison, and a quarterly newsletter, Cell Count, distributed to prisoners, institutions, and agencies across the country.

2010 International Recipient: Healthy Options Project Skopje

Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS)Started in 1997 in Skopje, Macedonia, Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS) is a citizen association that initially operated as Macedonia’s first needle exchange program. Since then, it has successfully operated a range of harm-reduction programs, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. It also operates programs to foster social reintegration and re-socialization among youth and vulnerable groups such as drug users and sex workers and their families.

HOPS carried out a video advocacy campaign following a November 2008 police raid targeting sex workers. Authorities forcibly tested those they detained for HIV and hepatitis C virus and published photos and videos of the detained sex workers. The campaign drew international attention and opened a dialogue with law enforcement officials to reduce the number of violent incidents committed against sex workers by police officers and improved police response when sex workers experience violence at the hands of others.

In addition to helping contribute to policy change, HOPS' outreach activities and drop-in centre have encouraged safer behaviours among Macedonian sex workers and helped create a sense of community and greater empowerment for sex workers, people who use drugs, and other socially marginalized people.

2010 Canadian Recipient: Ralf Jürgens

Ralf JürgensRalf Jürgens is one of the co-founders of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and was its Executive Director from 1998 to November 2004. Since December 2004, he has worked as a consultant on HIV/AIDS, health, policy and human rights in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Canada, including for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Open Society Institute, UNAIDS, WHO and more recently the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ralf is a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights and of the Leadership and Accountability Committee of the 2010 International AIDS Conference. The author of many reports and over 100 articles on legal, ethical and human rights issues related to HIV, Ralf has received numerous Canadian and international awards for his contribution to the fight against HIV and for human rights, including the 2009 International Rolleston Award.

Ralf was the coordinator of Canada’s Expert Committee on AIDS in Prisons and taught the first course on AIDS and the law ever to be offered at a Canadian university. Ralf has a Master’s Degree in Law from Montréal’s McGill University and a doctorate in law from the University of Munich, Germany.

2009 International Recipient: Michaela Clayton

Michaela ClaytonA human rights lawyer working on HIV/AIDS and human rights issues in Namibia, regionally and internationally since 1989, Michaela Clayton is founder and Director of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), a regional partnership of civil society organisations working together to promote a human rights based response to HIV/AIDS and TB in Southern Africa.

One of the founding lawyers at the Legal Assistance Centre in Namibia, where she established the AIDS Law Unit to provide a legal service to people living with HIV and AIDS, Michaela assisted in the drafting of the majority of Namibian sectoral HIV policies and the Namibian National HIV/AIDS Policy.  She was also counsel in successful impact litigation on HIV, including the case brought against the Namibian Defence Force for their exclusion of HIV+ recruits.

Internationally, Michaela has consulted closely with United Nations agencies in the drafting of regulatory guidelines, including the 2002 revision of the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.

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2009 Canadian Recipient: Viviane Namaste

Viviane NamasteViviane Namaste is Concordia University Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health and an Associate Professor at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montréal.

She has conducted extensive research in Quebec and Ontario on the HIV prevention and service needs of transsexuals, a community often ignored in HIV/AIDS services, prevention campaigns and policy initiatives.  In Montréal, her research has been instrumental in securing funding for community-based health services for transsexuals.

Presently, Viviane is conducting research on the HIV prevention needs of bisexual men and women (see www.polyvalence.ca).  Like her work on transsexuals, this project seeks to examine gaps in HIV prevention and research, with an aim to developing innovative solutions that connect knowledge and action.

Viviane has also published several academic books on transsexuals and health, with a particular focus on questions of HIV, including Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People, which won the 2001 Outstanding Book Award of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.

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2008 International Recipient: Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)

Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers Based in Thailand, the APNSW was founded in 1994 to work on issues related to the health and human rights of sex workers and all marginalized groups in the community, including people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The organization is based on participation by sex workers — male, female and transgender alike — in the sharing and dissemination of knowledge, as well as in internal leadership positions.

The APNSW has been instrumental, nationally and internationally, in highlighting abuses of sex workers’ rights, and has played a key role in pressing for changes to a flawed United Nations Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work. Recently, since the passage in Cambodia of “anti-trafficking” legislation has led to a crackdown on the entire sex industry, the APNSW has been actively supporting sex workers who have been subjected to gross abuses of their rights.

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2008 Canadian Recipient: Peter Collins

Peter Collins Serving a life sentence in prison, Peter Collins knew he needed to come to terms with the consequences of his actions and so dedicated himself to working for positive social change. He was instrumental in setting up a Peer Education Office in his prison and has advocated on behalf of fellow prisoners on issues ranging from health access to employment.  He also wrote a book helping prisoners prepare for successful and safe release into the community. Regularly donating his time, expertise and artwork to numerous charities and social justice initiatives, Peter’s dedication has contributed to improved health and safety in the prison system — and by extension, in the community at large.

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2007 Individual Recipient: Ruth Carey

A lawyer by training, Ruth Carey was executive director of the Toronto-based HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario) from 1996 to 2007. Ruth served on the Legal Network’s board of directors from 1998 until her departure from HALCO. She joined AIDS Action Now’s legal issues committee in 1991, and stayed on that committee until it founded HALCO in 1995.

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2007 Institutional Recipient: HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario)

HALCO, the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario), is a not-for-profit, community-based legal clinic serving low income people with HIV/AIDS in Ontario. Founded in 1995 to deal with the overwhelming legal consequences of HIV/AIDS, HALCO provides free services, including representation and summary advice, to clients whose legal problem falls within its areas of practice, such as human rights, social assistance, income support, and housing. It is also an influential advocate for law reform that will help people living with HIV/AIDS.

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2006 Canadian Recipient: Stella
Stella demonstrating in Toronto at AIDS 2006

Stella (www.chezstella.org) is a community-based organization established and run by and for sex workers in Montréal. Since 1995, it has worked to improve the quality of life and working conditions of sex workers, while promoting their health and respecting their human rights. Stella serves women, transvestites and transsexuals, and maintains an ongoing presence in sex work venues, including streets, escort agencies, massage parlours and strip bars. Stella also runs a phone line, medical and legal clinics and visits to sex workers in prison.

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2006 International Recipient: Gareth Williams

Squarely facing off with one of the most hostile and violent societies towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, activist Gareth Williams is a leading voice for the rights of sexual minorities in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean. At frequent risk to his own physical safety, Mr. Williams is also a tireless advocate for the human rights struggles of those affected by HIV in Jamaica. His commitment to rights as lived realities has ensured that the spectre of discrimination does not go unchallenged.

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2005 Canadian Recipient: Al McNutt


Al McNuttIn a town where speaking of HIV/AIDS was largely taboo, in 1994 McNutt founded Truro AIDS Outreach, which has since evolved into the Northern AIDS Connection Society, where he remains a driving force. He and his colleagues have, without remuneration, travelled throughout the Atlantic region promoting voluntary and confidential HIV testing where it did not exist, educating young people and those, such as prisoners, who are highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, and fighting stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS.

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2005 International Recipient: Humanitarian Action


Humanitarian Action’s drop-in centre for street children in St. Petersburg 
Based in St. Petersburg, Russia, the programs of Humanitarian Action (www.humanitarianaction.org) have served as a model in the country for such programs as syringe exchange for drug users, outreach to street-based sex workers, and medical services for street children.

 

 

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2004 Canadian Recipient (Individual): Megan Oleson
 

Megan Oleson 
Megan Oleson is a nurse and activist who has been tireless in her fight to protect the health and human rights of some of the most vulnerable residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

 

 

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2004 Canadian Recipient (Organization): Pivot Legal Society


John Richardson, Executive Director of Pivot, taking an affidavit 
Pivot Legal Society (www.pivotlegal.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to using law reform, legal education, and strategic legal action to advance the interests and improve the lives of marginalized people.

 

 

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2004 International Recipient: Thai Drug Users' Network


Thai Drug Users’ Network demonstrating in BangkokThe Thai Drug Users' Network (TDN) was formed in 2002 by a few drug users who were moved to act by having seen so many of their peers die of AIDS and other drug-related harms. The network has over 100 members and is active in all four regions of Thailand. It courageously advocates for the human rights of drug users.

 

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2003 Canadian Recipient (posthumous award): Laurence Stocking


Laurence Stocking (1959–1998) 
A tireless activist from behind the prison's walls, Laurence Stocking (1959–1998) fought to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among prisoners and to ensure access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS services within the prison system.

 

 

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2003 International Recipient: AIDS Law Project, South Africa


Liesl Gerntholz (AIDS Law Project, South Africa) and Stephen Lewis, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa 
Established in 1993 by Judge Edwin Cameron, the AIDS Law Project (ALP) has been in the forefront of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in South Africa since its inception. ALP (www.alp.org.za) has set an international standard for action on human rights and HIV/AIDS.

 

 

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2002 Canadian Recipient: Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU)


Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) protesting in front of the British Columbia legislature 
With more than 1000 members and 800 peer volunteers, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (www.vandu.org), has become one of the strongest drug users' associations in the world.

 

 

 

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2002 International Recipient: Dr. Wan Yanhai


Dr. Wan Yanhai 
Dr. Wan Yanhai, coordinator of the AIZHI (AIDS) Action Project, a Chinese nongovernmental organization he founded in 1994, has been on the front lines of fighting a growing epidemic, which the Chinese government has preferred to ignore.

 

 

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