Agenda 1.4 . Report by the NGO Representative
Delivered by Ferenc Bagyinszky, NGO Europe
Thank you Honourable Chair and also thank you, dear Musah for presenting our report. It is not only a great honour, but also an immense responsibility to be speaking there.
It is an immense responsibility, as we have the opportunity to speak on behalf of communities and people whose needs are ignored due to their social status or cultural background, whose voices are suppressed by punitive laws and discriminating policies and practices, who are forced into hiding, who are locked up, humiliated or even tortured for engaging in sex work, drug use or same sex sexual behaviours or for being who we are: transgender people or people living with HIV.
We have the opportunity and thus it is our duty to be the voices and the faces of the communities who are left behind in the AIDS responses at all levels, communities and individuals whose fundamental human rights – the right to information and freedom of expression, the right to social security and the right to life, to mention a few relevant ones in the HIV context – are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and whose rights are still violated based on distinctions that are against the foundations of all UN declarations.
These violations of human rights of individuals and whole communities, in combination with the shrinking space for civil society, especially for those NGOs who provide services for those left behind despite the hostile environments, further increase the already existing gaps and inequalities and are contributing factors to the current state of the HIV epidemic globally. If we want to end AIDS and mean that we are leaving no one behind, all social, cultural, economic, legal and political barriers must be removed; stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and key populations must be eliminated.
Our report shows that business as usual will continue to leave people behind. We need human rights- and evidence based, inclusive approaches to be implemented now, approaches that create safe spaces and enabling environments for all to access comprehensive quality prevention, treatment and care services.
As the European Union Commissioner for Health said in a recent meeting at the European Parliament: “Hard to reach populations are not hard to reach but easy to ignore.” we are calling on you to stop ignoring us.
We call for your attention to the situation of the communities currently left behind and we call on your commitments and joint action to ensure that no one is left behind.