The Inquirer (Monrovia)

23 November 2012

Liberia: UN Cares Launches 'Friends of UN Plus'

The United Nations has launched for the first time in Liberia a day to erase negative conception leading to stigmatization of persons living with the HIV/AIDS virus. Giving the overview of the current status of persons living with the deadly virus, UN Cares Coordinator Morris G. Wei said that giving the landscape of Liberia of 43,000square miles, and a population of about 3.5million people, about 1.5percent of the number carry HIV/AIDS virus with females accounting for 1.8 percent and males totaling 1.2 percent on the overall average.

He said in addition to the national framework such as the National AIDS Commission-NAC which headed by the President of Liberia and the National AIDS Control Programme-NACP, there had been increased mechanism put in place for the national fight against HIV/AIDS between November 2006 and June 2012.

According to Morris G. Wei, policymakers within the UN as well as the international community had been brain-storming on how to curb abuses in the work place especially, since the scourge of HIV/AIDS surfaced some 30 years back and has taken center stage as a work place issue.

He said in April, 1991 the executive heads of all UN Organizations through the Administrative Committee on Coordination-ACC approved the UN HIV/AIDS Personnel Policy; in May 2001 the ILO adopted the Code of Practice on the World of Work and in June 2001, UN General Assembly Special Session called for the development of work place policies that protect the rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The UN Cares Coordinator stated further that in April 2003 also, the committee of Cosponsoring Organizations of UNAIDS approved a Learning Strategy to help staff members develop competence on HIV/AIDS and in May 2008 and June 2010; UN Cares Program was launched in the UN circle and Liberia respectively.

For her part UNFPA Residence Representative Esperance Fundira congratulated UN Plus and Friends for seeking the welfare in protecting its members against discrimination, an act which sometimes kills victim while alive.

Introducing the program, Dr. Betru T. Woldsemayat said people living with the disease are humans that need care, and protection too in all societies.

He said the issue of discrimination in the world is killing a lot of persons who should not have died if indeed they were given care, love and cordial friendship.

Other speakers at the program, Manuel Da Quinta Social Mobilization and GIPA, RST and Joe Joe Baysah President of the LIBNEP said they are proud living with the disease.

The two HIV/AIDS positive UN Officials said that from the beginning, they were being discriminated by friends and families.

Dr. Ivan Camanor and Isabel M. Crowley also spoke and congratulated those living with the disease and assured them of the hope of a brighter future.

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