Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! each month for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $10 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Thursday, June 28, 2001 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: As the Senate Continues Debate On a Patients Bill of...
2001-06-28

U.N Conference On AIDS Ends As People Around the World Call for More Action: From Southafrica to New York, Brazil to Burma

download:   Audio Get CD/DVD More Formats
DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

The United Nations General Assembly ended its historic three-day special session on AIDS yesterday with promises tostart speaking plainly about the disease, to reduce infection rates and treat the afflicted, and to provide the moneyto implement those goals. In a 16-page declaration, approved by consensus and enthusiastic applause despite what U.N.Secretary General Kofi Annan had called "painful differences" among nations, the 189-member body acknowledged thatdiscrimination against those with AIDS and those whose behavior makes them particularly vulnerable to the disease,lack of women’s rights and failure to provide adequate sex education for the young contribute to its spread.The meeting was scheduled six months ago as nations realized that AIDS threatened to eliminate an entire generationin some countries, particularly African nations, and to devastate developing economies around the globe. The firstU.N. special session devoted exclusively to a health issue put the world’s governments on record with pledges to dealwith the pandemic. The declaration requires member states to report their progress on specific targets and methodsfor reducing the spread of HIV.

But there were many contentious issues. Early in the week, Islamic nations threw open insults at the U.N. GeneralAssembly President for stopping a filibuster aimed at preventing the participation of gay rights groups. Languageabout high-risk groups was eventually deleted from the declaration because some nations opposed even the mention ofgays and lesbians. Conservative countries also succeeded in softening language on the rights of women.

Countries and corporations alike pledged money to the Global AIDS Fund, which U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annanproposed in April. But AIDS activists slammed the initial U.S. contribution of $200 million as painfully inadequate,and charged that several other countries contributed much smaller amounts after Washington’s "dubious lead." JubileeUSA, a group lobbying to cancel poor countries’ foreign debts, noted that "the 200 million dollars which Bush haspledged is the same amount as sub-Saharan Africa spends on debt payments in a week. That means that the US Congresscould write the check on a Monday and by Friday, Africa would have paid it back. Congressional leaders on Tuesdaypledged another $750 million to the fund.

On Tuesday, around 30 accredited participants protested inside the U.N. against the exclusion of language mentioningvulnerable populations, the lack of funding for the global AIDS fund, and the prioritization of prevention overtreatment.

And just as the conference was beginning, the U.S. dropped its WTO complaint against Brazil for the production ofgeneric AIDS medications.

Guests:

  • Maria Luisa Mendonca, Director of the Global Justice Center in Brazil, and Director of Brazil Program atGlobal Exchange.
  • Phumi Mthetwa, a founding member of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa and the secretarygeneral of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.
  • Eric Sawyer, founding member of ACTUP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power)–New York.
  • Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, author of ??War in the Blood:Sex, Politics and AIDS in Southeast Asia.

Related links:

Recent Shows More

Full News Hour

Stories

    Peoplesclimatemarchjustseedsimage
    A People’s Climate Movement: Indigenous, Labor, Faith Groups Prepare for Historic March
    New York City is set to host what could be the largest climate change protest in history. Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to converge for a People’s Climate March on Sunday. Some 2,000 solidarity events are scheduled around the world this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations climate summit. We spend the hour with four participants representing the labor, indigenous, faith and climate justice communities: Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the president of Union Theological Seminary, which recently voted to divest from fossil...

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.