The NGO Delegation welcomes the Executive Director’s report.We commend UNAIDS for its continuing leadership in the HIV and AIDS response and acknowledge the pivotal role it plays in guiding governments, civil society and communities to develop and implement effective, evidence informed, policies and programs.
Whilst noting the achievements of UNAIDS and its co-sponsors, and encouraged by clear progress towards the three zeros, the Delegation takes this opportunity to emphasize two key points:
- Contexts and environments that protect and promote the human rights of all are critical to effective responses to HIV. We look forward to UNAIDS maintaining and strengthening its leadership in protecting and promoting human rights in the context of the response.
- We have made unprecedented progress over the past decade and these successes should be celebrated. As Michel noted, significant challenges persist and we remain with much to do.
The delegation firmly believes that the UN must play a stronger role to hold its member states accountable. Particularly those who actively undermine access to HIV services.
In Nigeria and Russiarecent and potential legislative changes might seriously limit the enjoyment of access to services by same-sex practicing people.
We understand that a number of UN agencies are engaging in high-level political dialoguewith the states concerned, in an attempt to address these issues.The delegation is convinced, however,that UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO and other co-sponsors must take a strongand public stand; clearly communicating that such laws are unacceptable and a major step backwards in the fight against the epidemic.
The Delegation is disappointedwith UNAIDS continuing silenceon the current situation in Brazil. Once seen as a model ofthe effectiveness of a ‘human-rights-based approach and response to HIV’, regressive policies in that contextnow sees these principles ‘banished’ from the National AIDS Program by the Ministry of Health, impacting the rights of gay men, adolescents and sex workers.
We appreciate references to a rights-based approach to the AIDS response and re-emphasize the Executive Director’s call for a bold response. One that is befitting the 21stcentury. These words are only meaningful if they actually compel action when human rights issues are at hand.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that the responsibility to mobilize around issues of Human Rights is not civil society’s alone – in fact, we have been‘mobilized’ for many years now and will remain so.It is governmentswho carry the primary responsibility as duty bearers.We, therefore, need the entire United Nations family to ‘mobilize’ along with us and hold governments accountable to their responsibilities to protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of all, including the rights to the highest attainable standard of health.