UNAIDS led the UN in observing Zero Discrimination Day on 1 March, 2018. Dr Martin Odiit, UNAIDS Country Director conducted media outreaches on radio and encouraged the public to join the fight against stigma discrimination due to HIV status or sexual orientation and gender identity. Partners such as the National AIDS Programme Secretariat and civil society, particularly SASOD and the network of Persons Living with HIV, were also encouraged to participate in the UNAIDS global social media campaign, which took the form of a quiz on stigma and discrimination. Persons were encouraged to share their quiz results on their individual social media platforms to further sensitize others. Additionally, the UNAIDS Country Director and the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka recorded video messages calling for non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status; these messages were shared on social media platforms.
Discrimination is often based on misinformation or fear of the unknown. By reflecting on people in everyday situations, on Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS challenged people to recognise where everyday discrimination takes place and to take action to stop it. This year's campaign invited people to ask themselves "What if..." and to reflect upon their own actions.
GENEVA, 1 March 2018—Discrimination is often based on misinformation or fear of the unknown. By reflecting on people in everyday situations, on Zero Discrimination Day, 1 March, UNAIDS is challenging people to recognize where everyday discrimination takes place and to take action to stop it.
This year’s Zero Discrimination Day campaign invites people to ask themselves “What if …” and to reflect upon their own actions.
What if the person you bought your vegetables from was living with HIV? Would you buy tomatoes from him?
What if your neighbour had tuberculosis? Would you stop to chat?
Allowing discrimination to continue is not only wrong, it is bad for communities, bad for the economy and bad for the future. Discriminating against women affects food production: women make up 43% of the agriculture workforce in developing countries and yet only 5% are able to access agricultural advisory services.
“We will never guarantee the right to health and end the AIDS epidemic if we exclude people,” said the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. “However, huge structural barriers stand in the way of the health and well-being of millions.”
No one should ever be discriminated against because of their HIV status, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, geographical location or migrant status, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, however, discrimination continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world. People face discrimination every day based on who they are or what they do.
Access to health services is essential to prevent and treat HIV. And yet approximately one in five people living with HIV reported avoiding going to a local clinic or hospital because they feared stigma or discrimination related to their HIV status.
Discrimination will not disappear without actively addressing the ignorance, practices and beliefs that fuel it. Ending discrimination requires action from everyone. Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to highlight how everyone can be a part of the transformation and take a stand towards a more fair and just society.
Zero Discrimination Day has been observed every year since 1 March 2014.
Join us for #zerodiscrimination.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
In observance of World AIDS Day 2017, under the theme – Right to Health - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) collaborated with government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to host three (3) activities: the annual Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, the annual dramatic production – Flame and the Ribbon, and a Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV. These activities were held on November 25, December 1, and December 5 respectively.
The Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, held at Durban Park, was a collaboration with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) and the Ministry of Public Health. During his remarks Dr. Martin Odiit, UNAIDS Country Director, called for the universal use by the population of the free HIV prevention and treatment services provided by the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The activity saw participation from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, United Nations staff, civil society, the private sector, and the general public.
In partnership with Artistes In Direct Support (A.I.D.S), the Flame and the Ribbon production was held at the National Cultural Centre. In keeping with the World AIDS Day theme the play addressed HIV prevention, safer sexual practices, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Mother to Child Transmission, domestic violence, cancer, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and maintaining a healthy body. In her remarks, Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, committed to providing quality health services to the population. Dr. Odiit emphasized the importance of the population exercising their right to health. The play was preceded a candle lighting ceremony in memory of those who died from or are living with HIV/AIDS. During the event special awards were presented to outstanding individuals and organizations; UNAIDS was the recipient of an award for its support and commitment to the hosting of the production over the years. The production celebrated the 25th anniversary of A.I.D.S.
A Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV was hosted by the Guyana Community of Positive Women and Girls (GCWAG), in collaboration with the Ministries of Social Protection and Public Health, and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat. This activity was held to observe World AIDS Day and the 16 days of activism against violence against women. In his remarks Dr. Odiit underscored the relationship between HIV and Gender Based Violence (GBV). During the sessions GCWAG members presented the challenges they have faced with GBV. Presentations and practical information were shared by several stakeholders’ representatives including the Deputy Director of Social Services, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the NAPS Programme Manager and the UNESCO Secretary General. It was agreed that more information on the services available for addressing violence against women need to be disseminated regularly and widely. The event saw participation by representatives from the Government, the United Nations, Advancing Partners & Community, civil society, Persons Living with HIV, NGOs, and the media.
WHO WE ARE
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. After the Second World War 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
PURPOSE OF THE UN
The United Nations has four (4) main purposes:
- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger; disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
UN IN GUYANA
In Guyana, the United Nations System has been operating for over 45 years. The UN is headed by the Resident Coordinator (RC), who also serves as the Resident Representative (RR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The RC is the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General.
The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) encompasses all the entities of the UN system that carry out operational activities for development. The UNCT ensures inter-agency coordination and decision-making at the country level. The main purpose of the Country Team is for individual agencies to plan and work together to support the development of the Government and people of Guyana.
This agenda is supported via the work of offices, which are located in country and non-resident offices.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
- United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS)
- International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean - Trinidad
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN)
- UN Women Multi - Country Office – Caribbean - Barbados
- United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Kingston
Office - Jamaica
- United Nations Information Center for the Caribbean Area (UNIC) – Trinidad and Tobago
WHAT WE DO IN GUYANA
The UN works closely with the Government of Guyana and other partners to fulfill its mandate as outlined in the joint cooperation agreement - United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) - which started in 2012 and will end in 2016. The main outcomes of the UNDAF are:
- Environment and Sustainable Development
- Inclusive Growth
- Inclusive Governance
- Human and Social Development
Dr. Martin Odiit is a Medical Doctor with a MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to his current position he was the UNAIDS Country Director for Somalia and UNAIDS Strategic Information Advisor in Namibia. His previous positions were with the UNAIDS Uganda office, the Uganda AIDS Control Project funded by the World Bank, and the USAID funded Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care in Kampala. He has also worked as an epidemiologist and researcher with the Uganda Government. In total, he has 28 years experience in the field of health and development. He is married and has 3 children.