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Author Topic: Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court  (Read 2668 times)

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Offline JR Gabbard

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Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court
« on: January 25, 2009, 05:50:27 PM »
Justice Edwin Cameron, the first (and only) openly HIV+ government official in South Africa, has just been appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa.  This was reported in the New York Times on Jan. 23, 2009.

Justice Cameron's personal story is compelling.  He spent his early youth in a South African orphanage, and was noticed as gifted early on.  He was groomed for a Rhodes Scholarship from age 15, but was aware of the injustice that there were other equally talented young people all over South Africa who would never have these same opportunities because of the color of their skin.  After law school he became involved in the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.

He spoke up against Pres. Mbeki, who denied that HIV causes AIDS, at a time when Pres. Mbeki was in a position to affect Justice Cameron's elevation to the Constitutional Court.  Many agree that this is the main reason he was delayed in being elevated.

I first heard of him as I was going through the materials on the 2008 AIDS Conference (Mexico City).  In his presentation he spoke about the difference between an approach to HIV prevention based on respect for human rights, and one that relies on criminal law.  He listed 10 reasons why criminalization of HIV transmission is a bad idea.  My favorite:  criminalizing HIV transmission punishes vulnerability and assumes the worst about people with HIV.

For me, an HIV+ attorney who got into the profession well after seroconverting, it has been very difficult to find a "spot on" role model.  There are plenty of attorneys who I respect for their legal skills and achievements, and plenty of HIV+ people who I find inspirational on a personal level.  But I only know a few other HIV+ attorneys, and those are through this forum.

I don't know of any openly-HIV+ judge here in SF, and if there are other out HIV+ attorneys in town they keep to themselves.  We don't have a club or anything.  The reasons for this are that HIV status is completely irrelevant to legal ability, and that HIV stigma is very real in the profession.  I've noticed a marked difference between the treatment I receive from people who know my serostatus, and those who just know me.  I had taken to only revealing my serostatus on the way out the door, in a kind of "check your assumptions" spirit.  Now I'm out by necessity, since my HIV status is the only thing that explains huge chunks of my life.

Justice Cameron is out because it was necessary to speak out against governmental denialism.  He spoke truth to power when it necessary, not convenient.  And as an out and proud HIV+ man, he rose to the pinnacle of his chosen profession leading a life of integrity.  That's my idea of an AIDS Activist, and of a role model.

So, I just wanted to share that with everyone.  Be sure to check out the NY Times article, and the audio excerpts of the interview for the article.
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

L. Cohen

Online Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 08:48:44 AM »
Thanks for posting this, SP. The PowerPoint presentation is well worth reading. My favourite of his ten reasons why criminalization of HIV transmission is a bad idea is #5 -

Criminalization places blame on one person instead of responsibility on two.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline komnaes

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Re: Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 09:06:46 AM »
I have the honor of meeting him 2 months ago.. I happened to be in Beijing around the time and squeezed my way into this breakfast briefing..

http://www.amcham-china.org.cn/amcham/events/details.php?Id=1183

He was charming and very (as you'd expect from a judge) well spoken. I didn't have a chance to speak to him afterward (I couldn't even finish sitting through the whole briefing cos I needed to run out for a meeting) and felt kind of bad that I couldn't come out on my status..

He was very very critical of past administrations in South Africa, .. hope things can turn around quick now.
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
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Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
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May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline JR Gabbard

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Re: Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 09:26:33 PM »

If you want the full experience, download the PowerPoint from Ann's post, then go to this page and click to watch the webcast of his presentation.  You'll have to figure out when to flip the slides on your own, but you'll get the full presentation.

Introduction starts at 1:07:30, and his speech starts at 01:11:30.
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

L. Cohen

Online Ann

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 27,949
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Justice Cameron Appointed to Constitutional Court
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 06:54:31 AM »
Thanks for that, Sweetie. ;) I didn't realise there was a webcast as well. I'll watch it later. Cheers!

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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