News / Africa

UN Security Council Notes Peacekeepers Role in Combating HIV/AIDS

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution underlining the need for continued international action to halt the impact of HIV and AIDS in conflict and post-conflict situations. The move comes ahead of a three-day U.N. high-level meeting, beginning Wednesday, on the international community’s AIDS response.

Tuesday’s discussion of the virus, which has killed more than 25 million people since it was first reported 30 years ago, focused on how U.N. peacekeeping missions can be important players in an integrated response to combating and preventing the spread of AIDS.

The U.N. has more than 122,000 military, police and civilian peacekeepers deployed around the world.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who took part in the debate, said for U.N. personnel, pre-deployment HIV training is standard.

He noted that over 1,500 peacekeepers have been trained as peer counselors and more and more peacekeepers are making use of voluntary counseling and testing.

“But we are not just helping our peacekeepers - they work so people recovering from war do not also have to recover from disease.  It is all part of the broader mission this council entrusts to our troops: to stop gender and sexual-based violence; to enhance the role of women; and to protect children,” Ban said.

It is rare for health issues to be discussed in the Security Council, where crises concerning international peace and security are the norm.  The 15-member council took up the AIDS issue only once before, in 2000, when it adopted a resolution that recognized the potential of the epidemic to pose a risk to stability and security if left unchecked.

The secretary-general said that before the earlier AIDS resolution was adopted, uniformed personnel were viewed in terms of the risk they might pose to civilians.  He said now they are seen as positive agents of prevention, care and treatment.

Africa, where the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping missions are based, has been affected disproportionately by HIV and AIDS.  Of the 34 million people UNAIDS estimates are living with the virus worldwide, 22.5 million of them live in Africa and some 60 percent of them are women and girls.  Nearly 15 million African children have lost at least one parent to AIDS-related illnesses.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé told the council that the newly adopted resolution is moving in the right direction in calling for HIV prevention among peacekeepers to be aligned with efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict - one of the ways women and girls are exposed to the virus.  He is heard here through an interpreter.

“We see that post-conflict and transition periods bring an increased risk of HIV and sexual violence.  We understand now how to address both these challenges.  We have made progress and now we must scale up these efforts,” Sidibé said.

He noted that global, national and personal insecurity will undermine efforts to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

On Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly will begin a high-level three-day conference charting the path forward on the global AIDS response.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More