03/07/2008

Presentation of The More Peace Less AIDS Campaign

Nicaragua –La Prensa Newspaper– July 3rd, 2008

Patricia Pérez from ICW Latina presented “The More Peace Less AIDS” Campaign at a conference in Nicaragua attended by the executive director of UNAIDS, Peter Piot, the princess of Norway and special representative to UNAIDS, Mette-Marit as well as the first lady of Honduras and President of The Coalition of Women Leaders, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, amongst many other well-known personalities.

The campaign promoted that 2011 be declared as a “Year of Peace as an Opportunity to Overcome AIDS” and that June 27th-the anniversary of the UNGASS Declaration-be a special day in concordance with the year, to encourage positive actions so as to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

Patricia Pérez said that the campaign would be a “collective effort as overcoming AIDS cannot only be left in the hands of activists”.

“As women, we seek peace in our homes and want to live without a fear of violence or of communicating our positive diagnosis to families and friends. We want to take joint decisions with our partners/families about pregnancy and child-rearing and we want to be able to work together to find adequate and effective treatment that will not compromise our sexual and reproductive health” she stated.

Pérez also spoke about the need for peace within communities so as to “be able to take advantage of local health services without fear and without worrying about people pointing us out or avoiding us and our children because of our condition”.

She stressed the importance of advocating for peace in all nations as some countries “channel their resources to buy weapons, where instead, they could be investing that money in health services, education and housing. By doing that, countries run the risk of falling into poverty and this leaves families without options for caring for themselves or loved ones”.

“We do not want to be used as weapons of war. This is why we want the international community to recognize the importance of peace at all levels so as to eliminate conflict, poverty and inequality and to allow significant changes in terms of the HIV epidemic” Pérez emphasized.

Strengthening Civil Society:

The Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit promoted ICW’s work as an unique example of collaboration to strengthen civil society.

She also stated her appreciation for the leadership taken on by the First Lady of Honduras, Xiomara Zelaya and Patricia Pérez so as to defend the rights of women and girls living with HIV and blamed inequalities between men and women as the main root of the disease.

Pérez invited the princess to join the campaign and asked for her help to launch the project in Norway.

Priority Theme

The executive director of UNAIDS and the UN Assistant Secretary-General, Peter Piot congratulated ICW Latina for “their perseverance in actively organizing HIV-positive women in the region”. He also congratulated Xiomara de Zelaya for her efforts in bringing together all of the first ladies of Latin America to talk about AIDS, considering it an international priority just like global warming and insisting that it must be solved together.

Piot spoke about the peace campaign and said that it was “a unique opportunity and that we need these type of actions to strengthen the response to the disease”.

Guaranteeing Peace

When she spoke, the First Lady of Honduras Xiomara de Zelaya requested international assistance for the region to avoid “that Latin America faces the same situation that Africa is currently living through with the AIDS epidemic”.

The Coalition of First Ladies pledged to promote the peace campaign in front of the United Nations.