Nairobi — Kenyan lawyer, Allan Achesa Maleche is the winner of the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award.
Maleche was named the pro-bono lawyer of the year by the International AIDS Society, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) during this year's International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.
He becomes the first Kenyan to receive the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award which has since 2012 been awarded to three other HIV/AIDS human rights advocates, Iranian physicians, Arash and Kamiar (2012), Ugandan HIV/AIDS physician Paul Semugoma (2014) and Zimbabwean human rights advocate Martha Tholanah.
The lawyer who is also the Executive Director of Kenya Legal Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN) has been giving free services to people living with HIV and those suffering from Tuberculosis.
With his team at KELIN, he has litigated and won landmark cases that halted the forced sterilization of women living with HIV, stopped the unjust use of public health concerns as a reason to incarcerate people living with TB, prevented the Government of Kenya from making the names of children living with HIV available to the public and much more.
Maleche is a top performer who has also been recognised back at home because he was listed among the Top 40 Under 40 in Kenya's Business Daily in 2016.
"There are many days when the challenges we face in Kenya and in so many other countries around the world can seem endless and they are a reminder that human rights must be fought for every day," he said during his address at the awards ceremony.
Initiated in 2012 by amfAR, the International AIDS Society (IAS), and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), The Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award recognizes exemplary efforts to advance human rights in the field of HIV and AIDS.