International Labour Organization marks World AIDS Day

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International Labour Organization marks World AIDS Day

03 December 2009

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ILO officials have gathered every year since 2006 to form a human red ribbon to commemorate World AIDS Day in ILO headquarters
Credit: ILO

About one hundred officials gathered to form a human red ribbon to commemorate and celebrate World AIDS Day at the International Labour Organization (ILO) headquarters in Geneva on 1 December.

This symbolic gathering was followed by ceremony moderated by Mrs Manuela Tomei, Director of the Condition of Work and Employment Programme. Mrs Maria Angelica Ducci, Executive Director, read a statement by the Director-General, Juan Somavia which highlighted the importance of enabling HIV-positive workers to remain in their jobs by eliminating stigma and discrimination. He further emphasized the need for a multi-dimensional approach with long-term commitment, creativity and diversity in order to prevent more infections.

The ILO gave a voice to people living with HIV. Mr Rodrigo Pascal from the UN System Positive Staff Group (UN Plus) presented a testimonial. He explained that UN Plus now counts 170 members, representing 28 UN entities in 43 countries. He underlined the right to work for people living with HIV: “We also have the right to keep our jobs and to be promoted according to our skills and performance.” He added that “where there is access to treatment we can live a regular life, the side effects of treatment are generally pretty manageable. We can face challenges as any other human being.”

in the absence of Dr Sophia Kisting, Director of the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work who is attending a special World AIDS Day Event in the context of the First African Decent Work Symposium on recovering from the Crisis Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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Jazz concert from the Namibian musician Jackson Wahengo and his band
Credit: ILO

A jazz concert from the Namibian musician Jackson Wahengo and his band concluded the celebration. Mr Wahengo performed his songs in Oshiwambo his native language. One such song was Takamifeni which means be careful is the message of a HIV positive father to his son.

Dr Sophia Kisting, Director of the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work was in attendance at a special World AIDS Day event in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso during the First African Decent Work Symposium on recovering from the Crisis.

ILO officials have gathered every year since 2006 to form a human red ribbon to commemorate World AIDS Day. This year’s event marked the conclusion of the festivities of the 90th anniversary of the ILO, eight years after the creation of the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work in 2001.