I am delighted to deliver remarks on behalf of UNDP at this final dialogue of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Over the last 24 months, UNDP has supported the work of the Commission on behalf of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS.
The culmination of this independent Commission’s work comes at a critical juncture in the global AIDS response. There is growing understanding that to sustain and scale up the impressive gains made in HIV prevention and treatment, the social determinants of HIV must also be addressed.
Significant progress in science and technology has provided the tools needed to slow the rate of new HIV infections radically, and stop HIV-related deaths. To complement this progress, bad laws should not be allowed to stand in the way of effective HIV responses.
A growing chorus is calling for the removal of punitive laws and practices impeding effective HIV responses. This Commission’s report provides compelling evidence to support these calls.
Mr. Executive Director,
Colleagues and friends,
It is a great honour for me to join you in marking the launch of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s latest report, “Rights, Risks and Health”. Let me also acknowledge President Cardoso, the Chair of the Commission, who could not be with us. We thank him for his leadership and his fellow Commissioners for their work.
As you might know, I began my term as United Nations Deputy Secretary-General only one week ago today.
This meeting is one of my first public engagements. Under the delegated authority of the Secretary-General, I will have a special responsibility on Global Health. You can count me as friend and ally in your work.
This for me marks the first of many opportunities I will take to advocate for greater protection of dignity and human rights, and the elimination of HIV-related stigma and discrimination wherever it may be found.