At an interfaith prayer service on the eve of a UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, people from diverse faith communities issued a call to action to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Faith Leaders and faith communities - From Commitment to Action
As individuals, and as representatives of diverse faith traditions, we commend the United Nations and its Member States for their commitment to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and to achieving the UNAIDS Fast Track targets in the next five years. The world is at a critical juncture in the struggle against HIV and there is a window of opportunity that we must seize. The next five years will determine the success of the global response to HIV and by their commitment to the Political Declaration the international community can demonstrate it has the collective will to ensure that no one is left behind.
Every person is precious. We, faith leaders and representatives of faith-based organizations (FBOs), believe that fundamental to each faith is the respect of human dignity and the value of human life.
Now we must ensure that the commitments embodied in the Declaration are fully implemented. In particular, we call on the United Nations and its Member States to:
- Hold themselves mutually accountable for achieving the 2020 and 2030 HIV targets, including the funding commitments. Progress towards the Fast Track targets must be evaluated annually, and if sufficient progress is not being made, efforts must be redoubled to ensure that AIDS does not reemerge stronger than ever.
- Ensure that prevention, testing, and treatment services are available to all, and especially to marginalized populations at increased risk of HIV infection.
- Invest adequate resources in community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations, which are key both to effective and efficient service delivery and to the elimination of stigma and discrimination.
- Remove the discriminatory laws and policies that are a major barrier to effectively dealing with the public health threat caused by HIV and that violate human rights.
For our part, as faith leaders and as representatives of faith-based organizations, we commit to taking significant and sustained action during the next five years in four particular areas:
- Reducing Stigma and Discrimination – We will launch stigma reduction campaigns in the local faith communities of our organizations addressing both stigma and discrimination against all people living with and affected by HIV, particularly marginalized and key populations.
- Increasing Access to HIV services – We will work with other community-based organizations, with governments and other stakeholders to ensure that HIV services are available in communities where we have a presence and that the services are delivered without stigma and discrimination.
- Defending Human Rights – We will actively advocate for the elimination of discriminatory laws and policies affecting people living with HIV and will seek to provide services safely in areas where such laws and policies are still in place. For the respect of the human dignity of each person, human rights standards for all must guide the global response to HIV.
- Ensuring Treatment for Children – We will actively work with service providers, families and communities to ensure that as a matter of urgency children living with HIV receive the testing and treatment that they need.
We will hold ourselves mutually accountable for our actions by setting specific targets and by tracking progress against those targets. We call on all faith leaders and organizations to:
- Join us in this commitment to action;
- Set specific targets to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and to achieving the UNAIDS Fast Track targets in the next five years in their communities, and
- Use this “Call to Action” to influence local, national, regional and global decision-making processes on HIV.
Let us join our efforts to halt the spread of HIV and end the AIDS epidemic - now!