Protest at UNGASS on Wednesday May 31st, 2006

For more information, see:

Press release
June 2, 2006
For more information contact:
Asia Russell +1 (247) 4752645 or Kieran Daly +1 (416) 2758413

International civil society denounce UN meeting on AIDS as a failure

Civil society groups from around the world denounced the final UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, released after marathon negotiations during the UN High Level meeting on AIDS this week.

“Once more we are disappointed at the failure to demonstrate real political leadership in the fight against the pandemic” said The Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop of Capetown. “Even at this late stage, we call on the world’s political leaders to rise up and meet the challenges that the pandemic presents and to set ambitious targets at a national level to guarantee universal access to treatment, care, support and prevention.”

UN Member States refused to commit to hard targets on funding, prevention, care and treatment. They rejected frank acknowledgement that some of the today’s fastest growing HIV epidemics are happening among injecting and other drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men. “The final outcome document is pathetically weak. It is remarkable at this stage in the global epidemic that governments can not set the much needed targets nor can they can name in the document the very people that are most vulnerable” said Sisonke Msimang of the African Civil Society Coalition.

“African governments have displayed a stunning degree of apathy, irresponsibility, and complete disrespect for any of the agreements they made in the last few months” said Leonard Okello, Head of HIV/AIDS for Action Aid International. “The negotiation processes was guided by trading political, economic and other interests of the big and powerful countries rather than the glaring facts and statistics of the global AIDS crisis, seventy percent of which is in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

African government delegations reneged on their promises in the 2006 Abuja Common position agreed to by African Heads of State. South Africa and Egypt, in particular, took a deliberate decision to oppose the setting of targets on prevention and treatment, despite the fact that both participated in the Abuja Summit that endorsed ambitious targets to be reached by 2010. “The continent that is most ravaged by AIDS has demonstrated a complete lack of leadership. It is a sad, sad day as an African to be represented by such poor leadership” said Omololu Faloubi of the African Civil Society Coalition.

But the African governments were not alone. The United States was particularly damaging to the prospects for a strong declaration. Throughout the negotiations they moved time and again to weaken language on HIV prevention, low-cost drugs and trade agreements and to eliminate commitments on targets for funding and treatment. “It’s death by diplomacy,” said Eric Sawyer, veteran activist and 25-year survivor of HIV/AIDS. “Hour after hour, my government fought for its own selfish interests rather than for the lives of millions dying needlessly around the globe”

There has however been a strong recognition in the declaration of the alarming feminization of the pandemic. Commitments were made to ensure that women can exercise their right to have control over their sexuality and to the goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

This progress was undermined however by regressive governments. “Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Gabon blocked efforts to recognize and act to empower girls to protect themselves from HIV infection” said Pinar Ilkkaracan, President of Women for Women’s Human Rights. “Their failure to commit to ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education for young people, and promote and protect sexual rights will undermine the response to the HIV pandemic.”

This was compounded by the declaration failing to acknowledge that some of the today’s fastest growing HIV epidemics are happening among injecting and other drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men, despite strong support from the Rio Group of countries. For example, governments have ignored the needs of injecting drug users by not stating the need for substitution drug treatment, putting them at further risk. “Failing to fully address the needs of these groups, and particularly to counter stigma and discrimination by decriminalizing drug use and sexual behaviors, will render them more invisible and ultimately lead to even higher rates of HIV/AIDS” said Raminta Stuikyte of the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network.

Again the US, along with other governments, ensured that the final declaration text contains a substantially weaker reference to the AIDS funding need. It now only acknowledges that more money is needed, rather than committing to raising the needed funds. An estimated $23 billion is needed per annum by 2010 in order to fund AIDS treatment, care, prevention and health infrastructure. “At this stage in the pandemic, we expected government commitment to close the global funding gap,” said Kieran Daly of the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations. “Instead they have tried to let themselves off the hook.”

While there has been a failure of governments to face the realities of HIV/AIDS, civil society will be holding them to account. Civil society will hold governments to account to deliver on universal access. Civil society will make sure governments recognize and support vulnerable populations. The failure of governments to commit will not be accepted.

EDITORS NOTE: “Vulnerable populations” includes women and girls, youth, older people, men who have sex with men, injecting and other drug users, sex workers, transgenders, people living in poverty, prisoners, migrant laborers, orphans, people in conflict and post-conflict situations, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as HIV/AIDS outreach workers and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Supporting organizations:
Action Aid International
Advocates for Youth
African Committee Services
AIDS Access Foundation
Aids Fonds
AIDS Foundation East-West
AIDS Law Project
AIDS Task Force, Africa Japan Forum
Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO)
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
Blue Diamond Society
CALCSICOVA (Cordinadora de Asociacia Ves de Lucha Contra el SIDA de la Cournida Valenciana
Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Brasil)
Center for AIDS Rights, Thailand
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN)
CESIDA - Coodinadora Espanalu en Sida
Colectivo Juvenil Decide/ Bolivia
European AIDS Treatment Group
Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)
GAT-Grupo Portugues de Activistas Sobre Tratamentos de VIH/SIDA
Gender AIDS Forum
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS Eastern Africa Region
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
Health & Development Networks
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
HelpAge International
HIV Association Netherlands
Housing Works, Inc
ICW Latina
International Council of AIDS Service Organisations
International HIV/AIDS Alliance
International Women's AIDS Caucus & FEIM
International Working Group in Social Policies and Sexuality
International Parenthood Planning Federation (IPPF)
Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS/Nigeria)
Namibia Network of AIDS Service Organizsations (NANASO)
National AIDS Trust (UK)
National Association of PLWHA in Namibia (Lironga Eparu)
National Empowerment Network of PLWHA in Kenya
Nepal HIV/AIDS Alliance
New Ways
Positive Action Movement, Nigeria
Positive Women's Network
Red Latinoamericana y Caribena de Jevenes pro la Derecliora Sexuales y Reproduction (REDLAC)
Red Tra Sex
RED2002 (Spain)
Rutgers Nisso Group, The Netherlands
Sensoa V2W
Share - Net
Stop Aids Liberia
Student Global AIDS Campaign
Tenemos Sida (Spain)
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
Treatment Action Movement, Nigeria
UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and aids
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
United Nations Association in Canada
Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR)
World AIDS Campaign
World Population Foundation, Netherlands

Rally and March at UNGASS - May 31, 2006

Organizational Sign-On Letter

In 2001, world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS to discuss the pandemic's growing threat to global health and security and to declare promises on scaling up treatment and prevention in order to aggressively fight AIDS.

Five years later,
15 million AIDS deaths later,
25 million new HIV infections later,

From May 31-June 2, world leaders are again meeting at the 2006 UNGASS to evaluate the progress made towards their original goals from 2001 and to renew their commitments to fighting the global pandemic. As individuals and organizations dedicated to ending AIDS, we must hold them accountable to their failures, and pressure them to initiate large-scale action to address the urgent public health crisis of HIV/AIDS.

We are a coalition of AIDS service organizations and activist groups who have been working over the past few months to mobilize thousands of PLWHAs, U.S. and international AIDS activists, drug-users, sex-workers, MSM, youth and other civil society delegates for a large rally and march at midday on May 31, 2006 near the UN. Together, we will capture the attention of government decision-makers, national and international media, and the general public to spotlight the successes and failures of the global HIV/AIDS fight. We hope you will sign on in a show of support for our efforts.

If your organization would like to add its name to the growing list of endorsers in support of the May 31 rally and march at UNGASS, please e-mail Details are included in the sign-on letter below, along with Spanish and French versions (below).

Please forward widely.
Thank you!


Our action will kickoff with the formation of a line of people leading from the UN to our rally a few blocks away at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in order to signify how world leaders are keeping much of the world waiting for affordable treatment, effective prevention, comprehensive care, and sufficient funding. Then international and domestic activists will join in the plaza for a powerful rally that targets the leaders of multiple governments- in both donor nations and nations most affected by HIV/AIDS- who are responsible for the failures on AIDS. We will also take specific aim at George Bush's self-proclaimed image as a leader on AIDS by highlighting his mismanagement of the domestic epidemic and by emphasizing how U.S. policies are disproportionately burdening people of color in the U.S., developing communities abroad, and women across the globe.

The rally will lead into a march past several countries' missions to the UN where we will speak out on the key issues raised by local activists in those countries and conclude at the U.S. Mission to deliver these demands:

1) Ensure that no one has to be on a waitlist for AIDS treatment in the U.S., and facilitate universal access to treatment by eliminating barriers to the use of cheaper, generic equivalents of ARVs globally.

2) Significantly reduce the number of new infections in marginalized communities by promoting gender-sensitive reproductive health services, ending the federal needle exchange ban, and promoting science-based prevention methods including condom use and comprehensive sex education over abstinence-only approaches.

3) Provide adequate health insurance coverage for all PLWHAs in the U.S., and fund and support initiatives for strong, local health systems in communities abroad.

4) Fully fund, at levels called for by civil society, a comprehensive Ryan White Care Act as well as multilateral HIV/AIDS efforts, like the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to promote efficient, sustainable HIV/AIDS programs.

We are asking for you to endorse our coalition's May 31 rally and march at UNGASS. Please e-mail Aaron Boyle at, or call at +1 917.621.6667 to add your organization's name to the list of endorsers. In addition to endorsements, we have a few questions for your and your organization:

a) What specific issues and demands concerning your country would you like to see featured in our advocacy surrounding UNGASS?
b) For those involved in other youth and civil society efforts around UNGASS, how can we best collaborate with you to ensure that all our work is complementary?
c) How can your organization support our May 31 rally and march with mobilization, fundraising, media efforts, or other resources?
d) What other events do you know of as part of the proposed "Global AIDS Week of Action" or other efforts in the dates surrounding UNGASS?

For more information about our coalition's activities, check our website at Thank you for your endorsement and feedback, and we look forward to sharing in a strong activist presence at UNGASS 2006.

In Solidarity,

The Sponsorsing Coalition:
- ACTUP - New York
- ACTUP - Philadelphia
- African Services Committee
- American Jewish World Service
- Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)
- Friends of TAC - North America
- Gay Men's Health Crisis
- Health GAP (Global Access Project)
- Housing Works
- New York City AIDS Housing Network
- Positive Health Project
- Student Global AIDS Campaign

Agua Buena Human Rights Assocation - Costa Rica
Africa Action - USA
AIDS Foundation of Chicago - USA
American Medical Student Association - USA
Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers - Thailand
Beijing AIZHIXING Institute - China
Blueprint for Action on Women and HIV/AIDS - Canada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network - Canada
Difaem - German Institute for Medical Mission - Germany
EATG, European AIDS Treatment Group - Belgium
GAT, Grupo Português de Activistas sobre Tratamentos de VIH/SIDA - Portugal
Gestos- Soropositivity, Communication and Gender - Brazil
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) - Netherlands
Global Network of Sex Work Projects - Hong Kong
Hispanosida - Spain
International Council of AIDS Service Organisations (ICASO) - Canada
Italian League for Fighting AIDS - Italy
Organization For Good Life of the Marginalized (OGLM) - Uganda
PONY (Prostitutes of New York) - USA
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) - Malaysia
Queers for Economic Justice - USA
Solidarity & Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII) - India

--------------------- ESPAÑOL ----------------------------------------------

Manifestación y Marcha en UNGASS - 31 de mayo de 2006 - carta para organizaciones que endorsar

En el 2001, líderes del mundo reunieron en una sesión especial en la Asamblea General de la Organizaciones Naciones Unidas sobre el VIH/SIDA (UNGASS) para discutir la creciente amenaza global a la salud y seguridad mundial y para declarar promesas de aumentar tratamientos y prevención para luchar agresivamente contra el SIDA.

Cinco años después,
15 millones de muertes por SIDA después,
25 millones de nuevas infecciones del VIH después,

A partir de mayo 31-junio 2, los líderes del mundo se reuniran una vez mas en la UNGASS 2006 para evaluar los progresos hechos desde su compromisos originales del 2001 y para renovar sus compromisos de luchar contra la pandemia global. Como individuos y organizaciones dedicados a parar el SIDA, tenemos que asegurarnos que ellos sean llamados a cuenta por sus fracasos, y tenemos que demandar canpañas a gran escala para enfrentar de una vez por todas la pandemia del VIH/SIDA.

Nosotros somos una coalición de organizaciones proporcionando servicios del SIDA y grupos de activistas comunitarios que venimos organizando hace varios meses una movilización de miles de personas portadoras del VIH/SIDA, activistas nacionales e internacionales, personas que consuman drogas, trabajadoras/es del sexo, hombres que hacen el amor con hombres, jovenes, y otros miembros de la sociedad civil para una gran manifestación y marcha al medio día del 31 de mayo, 2006 cerca de la ONU. Juntos, capturaremos la atención de los líderes de los gobiernos, los medios de comunicación nacionales e internacionales y el público en general para subrayar los éxitos y fracasos en la lucha mundial contra el SIDA. Esperamos que usted nos dé su apoyo endosando nuestro plan.


Nuestro evento empezará con la formación de una línea de personas, desde la ONU hasta nuestra manifestación ha algunas cuadras de Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Esto simbolizará el punto de que los líderes mundiales nos mantienen esperando mientras ellos ignoran nuestras voces que demandar tratamientos accesibles, eficáses de prevención, cuidados de salud conprensivo, y fondos suficientes. Activistas nacionales e internacionales reunirán en la plaza para una feroz manifestación donde tendrán la oportunidad de dirigese a multiples gobiernos - en ambos lados naciones que dispensan ayuda financiera y naciones más affectados por el VIH/SIDA - para que tomen responsabilidad de sus ineficacias en contra de la pandemia del SIDA. También, desencenascaremos las exageraciónes de Pres. Bush como un líder que lucha en contra el SIDA y subrayaremos su pesima administración doméstica contra el SIDA. Enfatisaremos la manera que las políticas de los EEUU cargan despropocionalmente a personas de color en los EEUU, paises en via desarrollo, y mujeres del globo terraquio.

Continuaremos la manifestación con una marcha que irá frente a misiones de varios paises de la ONU donde activistas de esos paises presentarán demandas claves a sus respectivos gobiernos y concluiremos frente a la misión de los EEUU de la ONU para presentar estas demandas:

1) Asegure que nadie tenga que esperar en una lista de esperar para recibir tratamientos para el SIDA en el EEUU, y promueva acceso universal para tratatmientos eliminando barreras a medacamientos genéricas a bajo costo por todo el mundo.

2) Reduzca significativamente el numero de nuevas infecciones en comunidades marginadas promoviendo servicios de salud reproductiva sensitivo al género, incrementando el presupuesto para programas de intercambio de geringas, y promoviendo métodos de base cientifica para la prevención incluyendo condones y educación conprensivo del sexo sobre abstinencia solamente.

3) Provea seguros adequados de salud para todas las personas viviendo con el VIH/SIDA en los EEUU, y financie y apoye iniciativas que reinforsan sistemas locales de salud en comunidades de todo el globo terraquio

4) Financie completamente, en cantidades apropriados de sociedad civil, un decreto Ryan White que es conprensivo a las neseciadades del cuidado de salud, además de los esfuerzos multilaterales, como el Fondo Global de SIDA, Tuberculosis, y la Malaria, para promover programas eficientes y sostenibles de lucha contra el VIH/SIDA.

Estamos solicitando que usted endorsa la manifestación y la marcha del 31 de mayo de nuestra coalición en UNGASS. Favor de enviar su endorso a Aaron Boyle por e-mail a, o llamar +1 917.621.6667. Para hablar en español, puede llamar a Lucio Verani [+1 917.547.9151]. Además del endorso, tenemos algunas preguntas para usted y su organización:

a) Qué demandas relacionadas con su pais le gustaría que incluyeramos en nuestro mensajes a UNGASS?

b) Para personas tomando parte en otros esfuerzos de jovenes y sociedad civil al rededor UNGASS, cómo podemos colaborar en un esfuerzo mutuo?

c) Cómo su organización puede apoyar nuestra manifestación y marcha de 31 mayo con movilizando personas, fondos, esfuerzos en los medios de communicación, o otros recursos?

d) Qué sabe usted de otros planificaciones como parte de la “Semana de Acción Global en Contra del SIDA” que ha sido propuesto o otros esfuerzos el las fechas por vuelta de UNGASS?

Para más información sobre nuestras actividades, mire nuestra página de Internet en Gracias por su endorso y sugerencias, y esperamos poder compartir en una presencia fuerte de activistas en UNGASS 2006.

----------------------- FRANÇAIS ---------------------------------------------------
Rassemblement et Manifestation à l'UNGASS - 31 Mai 2006 - Accord de Principe de Participation

En 2001, les leaders du monde se sont réunit à La Session Spéciale de l’Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies sur le VIH/SIDA pour discuter de la menace sans cesse croissante de cette pandémie sur la santé et la sécurité mondiales, et pour promettre d’augmenter traitement et prévention aux fins d’une lutte agressive contre le SIDA.

5 ans plus tard,
15 millions de morts du SIDA plus tard, et
25 millions de nouvelles infections plus tard,

Du 31 Mai au 2 Juin, les chefs d’états du monde se réuniront encore à UNGASS 2006 pour évaluer le progrès fait par rapport aux buts originaux de 2001 et pour renouveler leurs engagements de lutte contre cette pandémie (mondiale). En tant qu’individus et organisations dévoués à mettre fin au SIDA, nous devons les tenir responsables de leurs échecs, et faire pression sur eux afin de générer un mouvement à grande échelle pour faire front à l’urgence de cette crise de santé publique crée par le VIH/SIDA.

Nous sommes un regroupement d’organisations et d’activistes oeuvrant contre le SIDA. Nous travaillons à mobiliser des milliers de personnes vivant avec le VIH/SIDA, activistes américains et internationaux, utilisateurs de drogues, prostituées, hommes ayant des relations sexuelles avec des hommes, la jeunesse et autres représentants de la société civile pour un grand rassemblement et une manifestation prévus pour midi le 31 Mai 2006 près de l’ONU. Ensemble, nous allons retenir l’attention des décideurs de gouvernements, des presses nationales et internationales, et du grand public pour focaliser ainsi les succès et les échecs de la lutte mondiale contre le VIH/SIDA. Nous espérons que vous vous engagerez à soutenir nos efforts.

Notre manifestation débutera par une formation de personnes coude à coude allant des Nations Unies au rassemblement prévu à quelques blocks de Dag Hammarskjöld Plazza (D.H. Plazza). Nous y souligneront la manière dont les chefs d’état du monde retardent pour beaucoup dans le monde entier la disponibilité de traitements abordables, de programmes de préventions adéquats, de soins médicaux complets et de financements suffisants. Activistes nationaux et internationaux se rencontreront à D. H. Plazza pour un rassemblement de taille visant les chefs de plusieurs gouvernements - pays donneurs et pays les plus affectés par le VIH/SIDA confondus – responsables des échecs des initiatives contre le SIDA. Nous concentrerons aussi notre action du 31 Mai 2006 sur George Bush qui s’est autoproclamé leader de la lutte contre le SIDA en mettant en exergue sa mauvaise gestion de l’épidémie au niveau national et en accentuant comment la politique étrangère américaine est un fardeau lourd d’iniquité sur les personnes de couleurs aux Etats Unis, dans les pays en voix de développement et sur les femmes à travers le monde.

La manifestation mènera à une marche passant devant plusieurs missions diplomatiques auprès des Nations Unies où nous soulèveront les problèmes articulés par les activistes ressortissants des pays concernés et nous concluront à la mission diplomatique des Etats-Unis auprès de l’ONU pour y délivrer ce que nous exigeons ci-après :

1) Que personne ne reste en liste d'attente pour le traitement du SIDA aux Etats-Unis, et en faciliter l'accès à travers le monde en éliminant les obstacles à l'usage d’anti-rétroviraux génériques ou équivalents à meilleur marché.

2) Réduire de manière significative le taux d’infections nouvelles au sein des communautés marginalisées en faisant la promotion des prestations en santé de la reproduction spécifiquement liés au sexe de l’individu ; en mettant fin à l’interdiction fédérale sur l’échange des aiguilles ; et en faisant la promotion des méthodes scientifiques de prévention comme l’usage des préservatifs, et insistant sur une éducation sexuelle complète qui ne se limitera pas à l’approche abstinence uniquement.

3) Assurer la couverture médicale à toutes les personnes vivant avec le VIH/SIDA aux USA ; financer et donner soutien aux initiatives locales pour fortifier le système sanitaire aux communautés vivant avec le VIH/SIDA en dehors des Etats Unis.

4) Financer entièrement, et à tout les échelons que la société civile requiert, un mandat « Ryan White » de soins complets, de même que les initiatives multilatérales contre le VIH/SIDA, comme Le Fond Global [De Lutte] Contre Le SIDA, afin de promouvoir des programmes VIH/SIDA adéquats et viables.

Nous vous prions de donner soutien au rassemblement du 31 Mai 2006 et à la manifestation prévus pour la Session Spéciale de l’Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies (UNGASS) organisés par notre coalition. Veuillez enregistrer votre soutien auprès d’Aaron Boyle à l’adresse électronique suivante , ou faites le en composant le (1) 917-621-6667. Nous voulons par la même vous poser à vous et à votre organisation quelques questions :

a) Quels exigences et problèmes précis concernant votre pays aimeriez-vous nous voir présenter auprès de l’UNGASS?

b) Concernant ceux qui sont investis dans d’autres mouvements UNGASS pour la jeunesse et la société civile, quel type de collaboration attendez vous de nous qui soit mutuellement bénéfique?

c) Quel soutien peut on avoir de votre organisation quant à notre manifestation du 31 Mai 2006 et quant aux efforts de mobilisation pour le rassemblement, la collecte de fonds, l’appui médiatique ou autres ressources?

d) A votre connaissance, quels autres événements seront en cours durant “La Semaine d’Action Globale contre le SIDA” proposée ou quelles démarches seront entreprises aux alentours de l’UNGASS ?

Pour plus de renseignements sur les activités de notre coalition, visitez notre site Internet à . Nous vous remercions de votre soutien et de vos réactions. Nous apprécions d’avance l’opportunité de partager avec vous une forte présence activiste à UNGASS 2006.





use back button on browser to return