Azanca Alhelí Meza García, Expte. N.° 2945-2003-AA/TC. [ENG]

Amparo action seeking drugs needed to treat HIV/AIDS. Judicial order to provide full treatment. Social rights as a citizen's guarantees before the State. Principle of progressive realization. State obligation to adopt concrete and permanent actions to implement public policies.

Date of the Ruling: 
Apr 20 2004
Tribunal Constitucional, Peru
Type of Forum: 

An HIV/AIDS-positive person submitted an amparo action with Peru's Health Ministry requesting full medical care, including permanent supply of drugs and periodical testing, as well as CD4 and viral load tests. The petitioner alleged to lack enough financial resources to face the high cost of the treatment. The Court accepted the amparo action and ordered government agencies to comply with Article 8 of Law 26626, which set forth that a Plan to Fight AIDS should have top priority in the budget. The Court noted that social rights standards are not simply programmatic principles of non-immediate effectiveness, as they have been traditionally described to set them apart from immediately effective civil and political rights, since their minimal content represents an indispensable protection to enjoy civil and political rights. Consequently, social rights should be interpreted as true guarantees protecting citizens before the State within a vision seeking to revalue the judicial effectiveness of constitutional mandates and, therefore, the full force of the Constitution. The principle of progressive realization of expenses does not rule out setting reasonable timelines or the State's obligation to take concrete and permanent actions aimed at implementing public policies.

Keywords: Azanca Alhelí Meza García, Expte. N.° 2945-2003-AA/TC, HIV/AIDS

Enforcement of the Decision and Outcomes: 

On October 5, 2004, the Constitutional Court issued its decision in the case “José Luis Correa Condori (File Nr. 2016-2004-AA/TC),” ratifying the criterion established in the Azanca Alhelí Meza García case. The Court considered that, although thorough resolutions had been issued aimed at establishing a health care system to provide antiretroviral treatment to HIV-positive adults, in the claimant's case there had been no proof that the Ministry of Health or its agencies had taken any concrete measures.

Groups involved in the case: 

Petitioner: Azanca Alhelí Meza García.

Significance of the Case: 

This case is a key precedent for the enforceability of social rights in Peru, because the Court ordered the realization of the right to health regardless of financial resources initially assigned to the sector. Furthermore, while acknowledging the progressive character of the State's obligation, the Court also noted that there are immediate obligations.