Dr Edward Greene, Secretary General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in the Caribbean visits Geneva
26 August 2013
The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in the Caribbean, Dr Edward Greene, visited the UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva on 23 August to meet with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.
Among the issues discussed, Dr Greene highlighted the new initiative of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) co-lead by him and the Prime Minster of St Kitts & Nevis, Dr Denzil Douglas, called Justice for All: taking action to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase access to justice in national HIV responses in the Caribbean by 2015.
The new initiative will unite stakeholders—including faith-based organizations, people living with AIDS, civil society, legislators and government officials—at national and regional levels to dialogue on the existing legal environment related to HIV in the Caribbean. The initiative aims to develop a roadmap for national and regional actors to reduce stigma and discrimination and to increase access to justice in national HIV responses including the abolition of punitive laws. The first national consultation is planned for St Kitts and Nevis in Fall 2013.
The Special Envoy also stressed the need to strengthen dialogue with faith-based organisations in the Caribbean and work collaboratively with their representatives. Dr Greene stressed the historical role played by such organizations in delivering social services and support in the region.
As faith groups have been traditional gatekeepers of our society, it is imperative to include their representatives in the HIV response to ensure that their policies do not alienate populations most at risk nor restrict the range of strategies that can be employed to address the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean.
Removing punitive laws is a priority for UNAIDS. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with people who are living with HIV and who are most at risk. By transforming negative legal environments, we can help achieve a generation free from HIV.