​44th PCB - Intervention by Jules Kim - Agenda item 8 Nomination of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS


Delivered by Jules Kim, Asia-Pacific NGO Delegate

I would like from the outset to make it clear that my intervention is not on behalf of the whole delegation, but as an individual delegate and a sex worker. Sex workers globally are looking forward to working together with the ED we need, to lead the UNAIDS we need.

The UNAIDS Executive Director we need, should bring an in-depth understanding of, and track record in, working with and supporting key populations as an unwavering and consistent ally -regardless of external pressures. We need an ED who recognises the central role of key population-led and other community-led organisations and networks as crucial for an effective response to HIV. They will be unafraid to speak up for the difficult and unpopular issues, and to stand up for the most marginalised- without exclusion, without exception, and without ever letting up.

If we have an ED that leaves a community behind where can we turn? Are we willing to accept that some communities less important than others are justified in being left behind?

The UNAIDS Executive Director that we need is also someone who recognises and fully endorses human rights as an integral aspect of the global HIV response. To us, this must mean unflinching support, including with funds allocated, for the decriminalisation of HIV transmission, exposure, and non-disclosure; decriminalization of same-sex sexuality and behavior; gender identity and expression; decriminalization of drug use and possession; and, the decriminalization of sex work, including a rejection of abolitionist views on sex work that, incorrectly and without evidence, conflate sex work, trafficking, and sexual exploitation; addressing gender inequity in all its forms and across the gender spectrum. The UNAIDS ED we need will be unafraid to advocate for de-criminalisations, as well as fight other forms of legal oppression of any aspect of sex work or our lives, and stigma and discrimination in driving the epidemic.

The UNAIDS ED should have a demonstrated track record of sound management and funds mobilization, as well as in effective and timely management of challenging human resources crises. They will have the ability to reinvigorate and strengthen UNAIDS at this crucial time to carry forward its coordinating and leadership functions in the AIDS response over the next decade and provide leadership and strategic vision to ensure we meet our goals to end AIDS by 2030. This all being said, my constituency has its own track record of working well with UNAIDS, its Secretariat, and its Executive Director. We fully expect to work well with any future ED, and to build constructive and collaborative relationships to ensure that all key populations are not left behind.

I thank you.

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