On behalf of the NGO Delegation, thank you Madam Chair for the opportunity to speak on the AIDS, Security and Humanitarian response progress report
- The NGO Delegation welcomes this report as it is an extremely important topic. We cannot have an HIV response that does not actively address populations of humanitarian concerns.
- The report highlights some significant achievements for which we congratulate UNAIDS and the Cosponsors, in particular we would welcome more information on assessments and programmes which were developed or strengthened, notably in the key countries where HIV Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services for sex workers have improved, where communities were sensitized and peer-led networks developed.
- We do however have concerns about how certain programmes are to be maintained. For example the Interagency Task Team’s (IATT) efforts to ensure access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and how food insecurity and malnutrition are linked to the global plan on the elimination of mother to child transmission and the health of mothers living with HIV.
- There is little mention of human rights in the document which leads us to wonder how human rights programming is being considered especially for (marginalised) groups such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, adolescents and young women. We understand there is a role in the UNAIDS Secretariat to look at security aspects and follow up on the important Security Council resolution 1983; however, we need to be reassured that humanitarian and security aspects are closely linked and look forward to hearing how this coordination progresses.
- The report is inclined to read as an activities list and we hope future reporting on this key topic will focus more directly on impact. HIV treatment preparedness in emergencies is crucial as is the continuation of services. The global and regional initiatives in this report in regards integration of HIV into preparedness plans in disaster prone areas are so general, it is hard to understand what the impact has been, or who is involved or affected. The lack of inclusion of HIV in services is a reality which needs urgently to be resolved.
- We welcome the research being undertaken in the DRC and Haiti by UNICEF and UNFPA started in April 2012 which could bring special information about services for adolescents and prevention of sexual abuse. We ask that the findings be presented at the PCB as it would help for greater advocacy for the evidence to be shared in this forum, especially in a financial crisis where this issue might be de-prioritised.
- Although progress has been made in addressing inequitable access to HIV services for affected populations, additional work is needed to ensure HIV is adequately included during all phases of the humanitarian response, especially as we have heard from women’s groups in Haiti of a lack of services and an increase of gender-based violence and rape in the camps. Such incidents need to be captured and lessons learned so as to improve the evidence on how best to address HIV in emergencies, particularly in the ‘transition’ phase.
- Stigma and discrimination continues to impact travel restrictions especially in some countries where disclosure of HIV status can be reason for being expelled and where migrants and internally displaced persons are discriminated against and have their human rights denied.
- Finally, we would like to see a greater emphasis on humanitarian responses working in partnership and supporting existing and emerging people living with HIV (PLHIV) networks so they can lead, or at least be fully involved, in the peer led response to supporting PLHIV. We all know peer-led responses are the most effective, especially in reaching positive people who are reluctant, due to factors like discrimination and fear, to access ‘mainstream services’. We now have global, regional, national and local PLHIV networks interconnected and spread across the world to work in partnership with. Work needs to be done on developing these relationships and agreeing on appropriate partnership responses. We would like to see permanent PLHIV involvement in the IATT.