Thank you to many of you in the Secretariat and the working group for the work and negotiations that went into the production of this document. Without taking away from this work and good intentions, the NGO Delegation must state its frustration with the process and development of these key issues since the last PCB.
We think the current report, while important to have and fully supported by our constituencies, only contributes to maintaining the status quo. Rather than moving forward to reach populations most at risk of transmitted HIV, we are stalled in our discussions. We will not be able to address HIV without addressing key populations, including gay men and other men who have sex with men and transgendered people, people who inject drugs, sex workers, as well as women and girls, youth, and prisoners.
The document does not fully reflect the richness of the thematic session held in December.
The PCB NGO Delegation thanks the participants of the 29th PCB Thematic on HIV and the Law for the compelling testimonies illuminating the variety of ways in which the legal environment impairs their access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The importance and variety of violations of their human rights in countries all over the globe were not sufficiently reflected in the document.
The thematic session very clearly demonstrated the role of stigma and discrimination in the everyday lives of many people, especially those living with and/or affected by HIV, and how they limit access to services, lead to prosecuting attitudes, further marginalization, and deny people prevention, treatment, care and support.
This document recognizes that stigma and discrimination can be fueled by legal environments, thereby supporting the necessity of protecting human rights for all persons as a cornerstone of the response to the epidemic. This has previously been expressed and committed to by States in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.
The NGO Delegation feels strongly that the PCB adopts recommendations based on the thematic session.
As this board knows, we did not bring forward our own recommendations from last year’s NGO report on this topic. While we recognize some of our own report’s conclusions in the decision points, below, we are dismayed that we were unsuccessful in bringing a discussion of decimalization issues to this board. Notably, the continued denial of human rights to those whose sexuality is not heterosexual is shameful – and a personal affront to many of us in this room. As well, we have all seen the evidence of addressing the rights of people who use drugs and sex workers in helping to tackle the epidemic.