08 Jun 2016
Political Declaration Will Not End AIDS
2016 U.N. Political Declaration on Ending AIDS a disappointing and unprincipled setback in the fight against AIDS
UN Headquarters N.Y. – The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) is profoundly dismayed with the decision made by a majority of United Nations member states to adopt a flawed document. The Political Declaration on Ending AIDS by 2030 was meant to provide a compass for global and national policy, law, regulation, funding and programming. It could have been an important advocacy tool for civil society to hold governments to account. Sadly, the Declaration misses the mark—by a long shot. It fails to advance the needs, interests and rights of those most affected by HIV.
Prior to the adoption of the Political Declaration, collusion by a number of conservative member states prevented some civil society groups representing key populations from entering the United Nations to participate in the High Level Meeting. Further, these same forces obstructed negotiators from including language in the Declaration that would have explicitly recognized the human rights, needs and fundamental freedoms of key populations affected by HIV—sex workers, people who use drugs, prisoners, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender persons.
As a result, the Declaration has been almost completely stripped of explicit commitments to reduce discrimination, remove punitive laws and address other legal, social and political barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people from key populations affected by HIV. This failure to recognise what the global AIDS response needs to take on could jeopardize the realisation of ambitious targets made in the Declaration towards securing treatment for 30 million people living with HIV by 2020.
GNP+ has been actively involved in the extensive civil society advocacy and protests leading up to and during the High Level Meeting, and is sorely disappointed with the result. We must not, even passively, stand by and accept a two-class system, one where some people living and affected by HIV gain access to life-saving HIV treatment, prevention, care and support and can live openly and freely without sanctioned discrimination and prosecution and another where others are dismissed as second class.
This declaration turns a blind eye to the needs of sex workers, people who use drugs, prisoners, gay men and men who have sex with men, and transgender persons living in political environments that perpetuate socially and legally sanctioned discrimination and violence, including misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. Maintaining the status quo is no longer good enough—we must stand together and raise our voices to demand better.
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