May 6th, 2016

H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly

H.E. Ms. Patricia Mwaba Kasese-Bota, Co-facilitator, High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

H.E. Mr. Jürg Lauber, Co-facilitator, High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Mr. Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

We, the undersigned civil society organizations from around the world, are writing to you to express our profound outrage at the exclusion of a significant number of civil society organizations from the list of organizations published today, accredited to attend the upcoming High Level Meeting on AIDS on June 6th to 8th 2016.

This exclusion is unacceptable, and we call on you to use your fullest influence and understanding of UN processes to work with the General Assembly to reverse this egregious decision.

Whether by intention or omission, community organizations from populations most directly affected by HIV have been excluded, namely Men Who Have Sex With Men, Transgender People, People Who Use Drugs, People Living with HIV, Positive Youth Groups, as well as several major global and regional civil society networks. We cannot on one hand talk about Key Populations and on the other hand exclude their voice from the highest level forum in the global response to HIV.

This decision goes against the principles of inclusivity and solidarity that both the President of the General Assembly and the Co-Facilitators clearly stated at beginning of the process:

“Also with regard to stakeholder engagement, delegations will recall that on 30 March, I circulated the list – of NGOs, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector who applied to attend the High-level meeting in June – for consideration of Member States on a non-objection basis. Given the important contribution of civil society, private sector and other stakeholders in the AIDS response, and in order to ensure an inclusive and participatory HLM, I call on Member States to extend their full support to stakeholder participation and approve this list as soon as possible.” (1)

“… No member state can deny that it is legally bound to ensure that all people enjoy their human rights without discrimination – and this includes discrimination against those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.” (2)

This decision is also a direct rebuff to the Secretary General’s own advocacy to strengthen the rights of and engagement with LGBTI communities around the world:

“And I say to members of the LGBT community: the United Nations will always stand with you in your fight for recognition, respect and rights.” (3)

Further – and perhaps most critically – the draft Political Declaration is itself underpinned by the clear evidence that involving vulnerable populations most affected by HIV – particularly Men Who Have Sex With Men, People Who Use Drugs, Transgender People, and Sex Workers – is essential to mounting an effective response to end AIDS, and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Is this not the fundamental purpose of holding this High Level Meeting? Does this foreshadow what civil society can expect from UN Member States in the final Political Declaration?

By excluding organizations from these communities, the General Assembly is sending a terrible message to the world that it is prepared to let discrimination and prejudice yet again hamper our collective efforts to end AIDS. It also signals a disregard for communities most affected by HIV worldwide and Member State intentions to weaken the outcome of the High Level Meeting through exclusion and subsequent omission.

We appreciate that your offices have been and continue to advocate for inclusivity and equity in our efforts to reach the SDGs. Moreover, we understand that the challenges faced in mounting an effective AIDS response may continue to be sensitive for some governments. However, we urge the General Assembly to show moral and political leadership. June’s High Level Meeting on AIDS is an occasion of great importance to all who work to bring the global HIV epidemic under control. We cannot afford to fail.

We therefore call upon the GA to reverse and reconsider the exclusion of the groups so far excluded from the accredited list of civil society organizations, and work with us to ensure a powerful, inclusive outcome in June that will drive the world’s effective response to AIDS over the next fifteen years.

Sincerely,

  • Acción Ciudadana contra el SIDA (ACCSI)
  • Action against AIDS
  • Adhikaar
  • Affirmative Action
  • Africa Capacity Alliance
  • Africagay contre le Sida
  • African and Black Diaspora Global Network on HIV and AIDS
  • African Black Diaspora Global Network (ABDGN)
  • African Men for Sexual Health & Rights (AMSHeR)
  • African Services Committee
  • African Youth and Adolescents Network, Eastern and Southern Africa (AfriYAN)
  • AID FOR AIDS
  • AIDES
  • AIDS Accountability International
  • AIDS Action Europe
  • AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)
  • Aids Fonds
  • AIDS Orphan
  • AIDS-Fondet
  • Alliance for Public Health
  • Alliance India
  • All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV
  • Alternative Cameroon
  • amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
  • Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice
  • APCASO
  • APCOM
  • Arcad Sida
  • AS Center for the Empowerment of Young People Living with HIV and AIDS
  • Asia Catalyst
  • Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
  • Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSWP)
  • Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)
  • Asociación Silueta X
  • Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine (ASTAU)
  • Athena Network
  • ATL Tunis
  • Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
  • AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention
  • Ave de Mexico
  • Beyond Positive
  • Blue Diamond Society
  • CAISO
  • Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN)
  • Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN)
  • Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC)
  • Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
  • Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders & Sexualities (CariFLAGS)
  • Caribbean Harm Reduction Coalition
  • Caribbean Regional Network of Seropositives (CRN+)
  • Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC)
  • Caribbean Sex Worker Coalition (CSWC)
  • CEDEP, Malawi
  • Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
  • Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights, Ghana
  • Chances For Life Foundation
  • Civil Society Organisations Forum on HIV and AIDS (FOCDHA)
  • Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS
  • Coalition PLUS
  • Collaborative Network for Persons Living with HIV
  • Colour Pink
  • Communications for Social Change, Ghana
  • Community Health Alliance Uganda
  • Community Health Education Services & Advocacy (CHESA)
  • Comunidad de Trans. Trasvestis Trabajadoras Sexuales Dominicanas (COTRAVETD)
  • Damj pour la justice et l'egalite
  • Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
  • Dignitas International
  • Diverse Communications
  • Double Positive Foundation
  • East Europe & Central Asia Union of PLWH
  • Eastern Africa National Networks for AIDS Services Organisation (EANNASO)
  • Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality
  • EngenderHealth
  • Espolea, Mexico
  • Eurasian Coalition on Male Health
  • Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN)
  • Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), Lithuania
  • Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD)
  • Eurasian Women's Network on AIDS
  • EVE for Life
  • Federation Addiction, France
  • Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas
  • Forum Droghe, Italy
  • Foundation HE+HIV
  • Friends For Life
  • Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM)
  • Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
  • GESTOS– Soropositividade, Comunicação e Gênero
  • Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSM-GF)
  • Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
  • Global Network of People Living with HIV North America (GNP+NA)
  • Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP)
  • Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+)
  • Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA)
  • Goureli-Conseils
  • Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN)
  • GrenCHAP Inc.
  • GROOTS Trinidad & Tobago
  • Grupo Este Amor
  • Guyana Trans United (GTU)
  • Haitian Organization for the Prevention of HIV AIDS & STDs (HOPHAS)
  • Harm Reduction Coalition
  • Harm Reduction International (HRI)
  • Health GAP (Global Access Project)
  • Her Liberty Namibia
  • HIV i-Base
  • HIV JUSTICE NETWORK
  • Hivos Oficina Regional América Central
  • Hiv-Sverige / HIV-Sweden
  • Hornet Gay Social Network
  • Housing Works, Inc.
  • "Humanitarian project" Novosibirsk Russian Federation
  • Humanitarian Organization Against Social Ills (HOASI)
  • ICASO
  • ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
  • INA (Māori, Indigenous & South Pacific) HIV/AIDS Foundation
  • India HIV/AIDS Alliance
  • Instituto para el Desarrollo Humano - Bolivia
  • Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD)
  • Intercambios Civil Associatoin
  • International AIDS Society (IAS)
  • International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH)
  • International Centre for Science in Drug Policy
  • International Civil Society Support (ICSS)
  • International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW)
  • International Community of Women Living with HIV Asia Pacific (ICWAP)
  • International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
  • International HIV/AIDS Alliance
  • International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS
  • International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD)
  • International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+)
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
  • International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC)
  • International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Latin American and Caribbean (ITPC – LATCA)
  • International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Middle East and North Africa (ITPC MENA)
  • International Treatment Preparedness Coalition West Africa (ITPC WA)
  • International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC)
  • IRGT: A Global Network of Trans Women and HIV
  • ISHTAR-MSM
  • Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL)
  • Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN)
  • Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG)
  • Jamaican Network of Seropositives (JN+)
  • Jovenes Positivos de Latinoamerica y el Caribe (J+LAC)
  • Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)
  • Kenya Network of People Who Use Drugs (KeNPUD)
  • LACCASO
  • LAMBDA - Mozambican Association for Sexual Minorities Defense
  • LGBT Platform Suriname
  • MANASO
  • Marco Perduca, UN Representative, Nonviolent Radical Party
  • M-Coalition (MENA Region)
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
  • Mena Rosa, the MENA Régional Network of Women Living With HIV
  • MenEngage Global Alliance
  • Men’s Association for Gender Equality –Sierra Leone (MAGE SL)
  • NGO Phoenix PLUS
  • Instituto Vida Nova Integração Social Educação e Cidadania
  • MOPAIDS Movimento Paulistano de Luta Contra a Aids
  • Osservatorio Italiano sull'Azione Globale contro l'AIDS (Italian Network against AIDS)
  • Out-Right Namibia (ORN)
  • Pangaea Global AIDS
  • PETAL
  • PLUS, Coalition Internationale Sida
  • PO Gay-Alliance
  • Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA) Nigeria
  • Positive Vibes Trust
  • Proactividad para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo (PROACODES)
  • Public Union "Kyrgyz Indigo"
  • Real World, Real People
  • Red de Voluntarios de ASA (REVASA)
  • Red Nacional de Adolescentes y Jovenes en Salud Sexual y Prevencion del VIH/SIDA – Red Nacional de Jovenes
  • Red Nacional de Jovenes viviendo con VIH/SIDA (REDNAJCER)
  • Red Nacional por los Derechos de las Personas Travesti, Transgenero y Transexuales del Peru (RED
  • TRANS – IRGT)
  • REDCA+
  • REDLACTRANS
  • RedTraSex
  • Regional HIV Legal Aid Network
  • Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI)
  • REVS+
  • RISE Life
  • RNJ+ (Burundian Network of young people living with HIV)
  • Salamander Trust
  • Salud por Derecho
  • SANGRAM
  • SASH Bahamas
  • Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association
  • SEROvie Foundation
  • "Siberia-AIDS-Aid" Tomsk Regional Charitable Fund
  • Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD)
  • SOMOSGAY
  • Sonke Gender Justice
  • Sophia Forum
  • Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT)
  • Stand Up For Jamaica (SUFJ)
  • Stop the Drug War
  • STOPAIDS
  • Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI)
  • SWAN - Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network for CEECA
  • Taller Salud
  • The Africa Civil Society Platform for Health (CISPHA)
  • The African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB)
  • The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA)
  • The Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC)
  • The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS
  • The Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT)
  • The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
  • The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER)
  • The Jamaican Network of Seropositives (JN+)
  • The NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB)
  • The Silver Lining Foundation
  • The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)
  • The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL)
  • Transform Drug Policy Foundation
  • Trelawny Parish AIDS Association
  • Tunisian Association of Positive Prevention
  • "UCO "Legalife-Ukraine""
  • Unión GTH Vegano
  • Union of Women of Ukraine affected by HIV "Positive Women"
  • United and Strong, Inc.
  • United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM)
  • United Bricklayers
  • US PLHIV Caucus
  • Us, the United Society
  • WACI Health
  • WCC - Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
  • White Ribbon Canada
  • Women Against Rape Inc.
  • Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre
  • Y+ (Global Network of Young people living with HIV)
  • Yale Global Health Justice Partnership
  • Youth LEAD, the Asia Pacific Network of Young Key Populations
  • Youth RISE
  • Youth Voice Count
  • Yugoslav Youth Association Against AIDS - Youth of JAZAS
  • Zimbabwe Council of Churches

    References

    1) Opening remarks by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at informal meeting of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS, New York, April 2016

    2) Opening remarks by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at the Economic Cost of LGBT Exclusion, New York, December 2015

    3) UN Secretary-General's remarks at the High Level LGBT Core Group Event "Leaving No-One Behind: Equality & Inclusion in the Post-2015 Development Agenda", New York, September 2015