The Committee debated the language of a draft resolution proposed by the EU, Norway and Thailand entitled ‘Achieving universal access to treatment, care and support for people with HIV, including injecting drug users, by 2010‘.
There was significant debate on preambular paragraph 3, which as drafted stated:
‘Concerned that the coverage of HIV prevention services is far from adequate in many countries with a high prevalence of injecting drug use and that HIV responses in many countries fail to meet international legal obligations to promote, protect and respect human rights’
Pakistan started the discussion, objecting to the reference to human rights. As stated by the delegate, ‘I doubt that the purpose of the HIV response is to promote human rights. That is not the purpose.’
Iran supported Pakistan, suggesting that the Committee just delete everything after ‘drug use’.
Russia agreed with Iran and Pakistan, stating that fighting AIDS is ‘not linked to human rights’.
The UK drew attention to the 2009 resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on HIV and human rights, and that the UN had already agreed that HIV and human rights were linked.
Russia responded that ‘We’re not at the Human Rights Council here. We’re at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We’re looking at the non-proliferation of AIDS from our perspective.’
China spoke up in support of Pakistan, Iran and Russia.
Thailand suggested that the language be changed to ‘fail to meet the right to health as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’
Spain noted that lack of human rights is one of the main barriers to gaining access to HIV treatment. Spain supported the Thai proposed language.
The delegate of Zimbabwe spoke up to ‘lend my voice to support taking out human rights’ and noted that ‘CND should limit its mandate to drugs, not human rights’.
Argentina supported the Thai proposed language.
The USA noted that while it was OK with original language, it would suggest that the language as proposed by Thailand should instead be ‘the highest attainable standard of health’
Then Iran changed tack, suggesting that they insert the phase ‘more humanitarian efforts’ instead of ‘human rights’. China supported this proposal.
Argentina, getting right to the point, stated ‘humanitarian efforts are not human rights’
The UK, seeking to combine the Thailand and US suggestions, proposed that the language read that the HIV response ‘should strive to achieve the highest attainable standard of health as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’
Pakistan responded that it is ‘Not the purpose of the HIV response to achieve the highest attainable standard of health’
At this point, seeing no progress in satisfying the countries obstructing the human rights language, the Chair suggested they move on and come back to it later.
Later the COW agreed without comment to preambular paragraph 11, which reads:
‘Recognizing that the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including in the areas of prevention, care, support and treatment, and that such a response reduces people’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and prevents stigma and related discrimination against people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS’
Significant debate took place again over operative paragraphs 2 and 3, both of which refer to ‘harm reduction’. Countries including Columbia, Russia, Zimbabwe, the USA and Japan all wanted the term removed.
The US suggested instead the language be changed to reflect the 9 core interventions on preventing HIV as supported by WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS, stated that US these are ‘the 9 interventions that the United States fully supports’.
As with the discussions on preambular paragraph 3, final debate on these paragraphs were put over to tomorrow morning.