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Fiji President Opens Pacific Aid Consultations
Source: http://www.pina.com.fj
Source Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Internet Governance
Country: Fiji
Created: Apr 22, 2013

Fiji's President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau opened a regional consultation on HIV and AIDS in Nadi today. The consultation forum attended by Government, legal, human rights and health leaders from Pacific nations is to review laws and policies that are blocking progress on HIV and AIDS issues in the region. Attended by representatives from seven Pacific nations (Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), Ratu Epeli said the initiative was important to the small island States which impacted on human rights-based health programme  initiatives and the rights of people living with HIV. “This consultation to discuss the review of laws and policies hindering access to HIV services for people living with HIV and key populations is one of the steps agreed to in the ESCAP regional framework which I chaired some years back,” Ratu Epeli said. “As the first countries in the Asia Pacific region to hold the consultation, we are again showing our leadership and commitment to effective responses to HIV and to the human rights of those living with or vulnerable to HIV. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us, the participants at this consultation, together with our UN partners, to ensure objectives of this consultation are fully met.”

 

The meeting has been seen as an example to other countries in the region that will soon be holding similar consultations. United Nations AIDS Pacific co-ordinator, Tim Rwabuhemba said punitive laws, policies and practices hamper access to HIV-related services across Asia and the Pacific. “Almost all Pacific nations have laws and policies which contribute to the obstruction of rights of people living with HIV and key affected populations,” Mr Rwabuhemba said. “Many have laws and practices that effectively criminalize people living with HIV and key affected populations, mitigate or sustain violence and discrimination against women and sexual minorities and impede HIV-related treatment access.” The meeting is a follow up to commitments made at the United Nations General Assembly (2011) and through the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2010, 2011) to review laws and policies that adversely affect the successful delivery of HIV services to people living with HIV.
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