First intervention during the thematic segment of the 36th PCB on HIV in Emergency Contexts
Delivered by Bryan Teixeira, Europe NGO Delegate
The NGO Delegation welcomes this Thematic Session on Emergencies, with its emphasis on the impacts of emergencies and related displacement of key populations, as well as persons living in other fragile communities that may ultimately require emergency humanitarian responses. The Delegation is also happy to see that the profile of emergencies is now high within several of the documents we received for this PCB, so in many ways, a key objective of this Thematic has already been achieved, i.e., ensuring emergencies are well integrated into the updated UNAIDS Strategy.
The NGO Delegation offers some examples of emergencies for key populations:
A 2013 High Court ruling in the Dominican Republic has stripped Haitian migrants and many of their Dominican-born children of their citizenship, retroactive to 1930. This has left 500,000 people stateless, all of whom might be considered key populations in the context of the Caribbean because of their disproportionate burden of HIV and the discrimination they face based on their perceived racial characteristics and national origin. In addition, this group includes PLHIV, people living with TB, TB/HIV dually infected persons and other vulnerable sub-populations. In the first quarter of 2015, 40,000 people have been deported to Haiti. And as we know, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere that is still crippled by the impacts of the 2010 earthquake. The NGO Delegation sees this and similar situations as key population emergencies.
We have heard at many points today that as the Global Fund begins to withdraw from many countries, PLHIV and key populations in those countries have to depend on their governments to sustain HIV and related services to these groups. In far too many cases, it is not at all clear that such services will be sustained after the GF departs. In Romania, only 3 years after the end of Global Fund financing, we saw the closure of harm reduction services and the percentage of new HIV infections among PWID grew from only 3% to 30%. In Russia, there were stockouts of ARVs in 2010 after GF have left the country. Where the GF departs from countries prior to being sure that governments can sustain treatment and other services, the NGO
Delegation sees this and similar situations as key population emergencies or at least emergencies in the making.
Critical situations, including displacement and danger when accessing services, are being faced by key populations due to legislation that criminalises MSM, or where – as a result of conflict – the terms and policy on key populations have changed, as has happened in Crimea with MSM and PWUD. The NGO Delegation sees this and similar situations as key population emergencies.
In closing, the Delegation is delighted to have this study day on emergencies, whether arising from natural disasters or from human actions. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to explore how such emergencies impact key populations and other vulnerable communities.