The global AIDS pandemic has left more than fifteen million children orphaned. These children constitute one of the most vulnerable populations, yet their situation has received relatively little scrutiny from legal scholars. This Article intends to fill that void by explicating the experience of children orphaned by AIDS, situating it in the broader context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and evaluating protections available under international human rights law. Analyzing human rights law as applied to children orphaned by AIDS exposes the extent to which rights are interrelated, particularly for marginalized populations.
In current scholarship, the interrelationship among rights, for the most part, is acknowledged with only passing reference to the idea that civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights are indivisible or interdependent. That rights are interrelated seems to be accepted without objection today but also without further significant analysis. This Article contends that the impact of the relationships among specific rights has not been adequately analyzed but is a necessary step in developing a more precise understanding of the contours of each individual right and the exact nature of the corresponding state obligation. Therefore, this Article analyzes the significance of the interrelationship among specific rights with a view toward identifying the key challenges it raises and the implications of such challenges. Ultimately, a clearer articulation of states' obligations is critical to measuring countries' compliance with human rights law accurately and systematically, and a better understanding of the interrelationship among rights is an essential step toward that goal.