Dear Dr. Alexandre Padilha,
As the Latin American and Caribbean NGO Delegates to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, on behalf of the whole NGO Delegation, we write you to express our deep concern and rejection of the abrupt removal of Dr. Dirceu Greco from the position of Head of the National Department of STIs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis.
Dr. Greco has a long-time history of staunchly defending and advancing progressive, human rights-based positions on HIV in Brazil and internationally, including in UNAIDS PCB meetings. He is a tireless spokesperson for Brazil’s HIV policies and for the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS, key affected populations and for women’s and girl’s rights in relation to their heighted vulnerability to HIV. We have always been grateful for his constant support and deeply aware of his instrumental role in strengthening the HIV response and upholding the rights of key affected populations in Brazil.
For the above mentioned reasons, we believe that the decision to dismiss Dr. Greco was unfounded and, additionally, it poses a serious threat to the advances made in the HIV response in Brazil over more than twenty years.
Over those years, through joint work with civil society and key affected populations in defense of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, Brazil successfully developed one of the strongest HIV responses in the world, which has served as a model for countries across the globe. However, over the past months our attention has been called to trends of growing concern in Brazil, characterized by a lack of dialogue and unilateral decision-making that has repeatedly revealed the public health authorities’ discrimination against key affected populations, people living with HIV and human rights defenders and a lack of commitment to their mandate to address the needs of all people affected by HIV and put an end to the epidemic. Considering these already concerning precedents, the removal of Dr. Greco has caused even greater alarm, as part of the clear ongoing process to erase the human rights-based approach that the National AIDS Program has promoted over the years and which has been one of the most successful cornerstones of the HIV response in Brazil.
Provided this situation, we deeply regret the decision the dismissal of Dr. Greco, and we truly hope that his removal will not represent a change in course away from the historic human-rights based approach that he worked so hard to advance. We urge you, as the Minister of Health of Brazil to publicly commit to furthering this approach in the HIV response at national and international levels and speak in public that the Minister of Health in Brazil do not rule the MoH based on your personal values, or have any deal with the fundamentalist forces. This is necessary if you are to continue strengthening, instead of undermining, the HIV response in the country and to continue to set a positive model for Human Rights and HIV globally.
Considering that the entire NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB shares our extreme concern of the current situation of regressive in the HIV policy in Brazil, we appreciate your willingness to consider our concern and ensure that it is addressed in the Ministry’s future decisions and operations. We are at your disposal for any inquiries or information you may require.
Latin America and the Caribbean NGO Delegates to the Programme Coordinating Board of UNAIDS
Mabel Bianco, President of Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer -FEIM-
Alessandra Nilo, Executive Director of GESTOS-Soropositividade, Comunicação e Gênero