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[afro-nets] African negotiators lobby in bad faith at UN HIV/AIDS meeting

African negotiators lobby in bad faith at UN HIV/AIDS meeting
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PRESS RELEASE
JUNE 1, 2006 

African Negotiators lobby in bad faith at UN meeting 

Three weeks after the African Union - the highest decision-making regional 
authority in Africa  - endorsed a Common Position on HIV and AIDS, African 
delegates in New York are reneging on the strong commitments they made to 
providing access to services for HIV prevention, care and treatment to all 
those who need them in Africa. At the Abuja Heads of States Summit held from 
May 2 - 4, African states committed to: 
a.. Reaching at least 80% of pregnant women with access to prevention of mother 
to child transmission (PMTCT);
b.. Ensuring that 80% of orphans and vulnerable children have access to basic 
services by 2010;
c.. Ensuring that at least 80% of those in need, especially women and children, 
have access to HIV/AIDS treatment, including antiretroviral therapy as well as 
care and support;
d.. Ensuring that at least 80% of target populations have access to voluntary 
testing and counselling services 
e.. Reaching at least 80% of target populations with access to condoms and the 
skills to use them for HIV prevention. 

Although African Heads of States endorsed a strong declaration with clear 
targets and timeframes for fighting AIDS in Africa, bureaucrats and officials 
at a UN review are refusing to acknowledge these commitments.

In a surprising turn of events, and a remarkable display of bad faith, 
negotiators from Gabon, Egypt and South Africa have refused to acknowledge the 
legitimacy of the African Common Position, and have aligned themselves with the 
United States, the EU and Japan in rejecting the inclusion of targets in the 
UNGASS Political Declaration. 

African negotiators have resisted the inclusion of specific measures to protect 
and promote the human rights of vulnerable groups, including sex workers, men 
who have sex with men, injecting drug users, adolescents and women. This 
refusal to acknowledge the people most affected by the global epidemic again 
flies in the face of the Common Position, which clearly specifies the need to 
support these and other groups in programmes designed to prevent and treat HIV 
and AIDS.  The positions of the countries listed above are particularly 
puzzling in light of the evidence regarding the impact of HIV and AIDS: 77% of 
young people living with HIV and AIDS are young women. 

Nigeria is the only African country that has openly spoken out against the 
undermining of the African Common Position.  Not a single other African state 
has followed suit, despite repeated information notes from the African Union 
secretariat, informing New York-based African negotiators about the existence 
and importance of the Common Position.  

Instead, silence and apathy have mired the African bloc, and rendered the bloc 
of over fifty AU member states virtually silent for the duration of the 
negotiations. 

We call on countries such as Namibia and Kenya, which have indicated to civil 
society that they do not agree with the position articulated by the African 
negotiators to do so openly. We call on all African countries to honour the 
commitments made at Abuja three weeks ago and to stop the bad faith 
negotiations being undertaken in their name. 

Issued by the African Civil Society Coalition on AIDS

For more information contact:
Omolulu Falobi 
+1 646 578 6757
mailto:omololu@nigeria-aids.org

Sisonke Msimang
+27 83 450 7382
mailto:sisonkem@osisa.org

--
Omololu Falobi
mailto:omololu@nigeria-aids.org

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