Resolution 1308 (2000), it also recalls, recognizes the potential of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to pose a risk to stability and security, focusing particularly on the potential of the disease to affect United Nations peacekeeping personnel and requesting the Secretary-General to strengthen preventative training, while encouraging Member States to increase cooperation to assist with HIV/AIDS prevention, voluntary and confidential testing, counselling and treatment for personnel to be deployed to peacekeeping operations.In the 11 years since the adoption of resolution 1308 (2000), it says, there has been much investment in such activities and corresponding progress. However, as shown by statistics of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, since 2000, illness has surpassed accidents and malicious acts as the leading cause of death of United Nations peacekeeping personnel (except for 2010, the year of the Haiti earthquake), although the precise number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS was not known. That trend demands continued emphasis on strengthening national HIV policies for uniformed services, training and health measures for all categories of personnel before deployment to United Nations missions, continuing awareness programmes, a comprehensive command-centred approach and education and health programmes for local populations.
In addition, the paper notes that understanding of HIV/AIDS in conflict areas has improved since 2000. For example, HIV/AIDS incidence has been shown to increase in post-conflict situations, with implications for the role that could be played by peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in strengthening HIV prevention in their areas of operation. A greater understanding of the gender dimensions of the disease, which disproportionately affect women and girls, has also been gained.
The paper concludes that the Security Council should thus consider how it could maximize the positive potential of United Nations peacekeeping missions to include HIV/AIDS awareness and training when implementing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes and in post-conflict justice and security sector reform efforts.
Action on Draft
In introductory remarks as Council President, ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, President of _Gabon_, said there was no doubt of the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security. Ten years ago, the Security Council, at the initiative of the United States, had adopted resolution 1308 (2000). Gabon, which had just completed a term of office as a non-permanent member of the Council at that time, had participated in the elaboration of that important text, which noted the threat of HIV/AIDS in conflict situations, especially where sexual violence was used as a weapon of war.
With the resolution to be adopted shortly, “we must go further” by adopting measures to protect civilians from sexual violence and lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive and coordinated international approach, he said, thanking all delegations that had supported the new resolution.
Speaking next in his national capacity, he said the General Assembly was set to begin its high-level meeting tomorrow to mark the 10-year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. Ten years after the Council’s recognition of the impact of that disease on peace and security, it was time for it to examine the issue again to consider the progress made and challenges encountered.
There had been a positive evolution in the international response to the virus and recognition of its impact on peace and security, specifically generated by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said. The United Nations peacekeeping architecture had made significant efforts to promote greater awareness about HIV/AIDS and to establish codes of conduct for peacekeepers and other staff on the ground.
Yet, he noted, new factors continued to impact the dynamics of crises, conflicts and peacebuilding processes, which was particularly evident in sub-Saharan Africa. One major challenge was the cross-border and regional nature of conflict, which often uprooted many people from their homes and risked spreading the disease. Indeed, sexual violence was frequently used as a weapon of war, with disastrous consequences. With the increase in sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, women and girls were the first to be exposed.
With that in mind, he invited the Council to continue to consider the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security. It should also continue to press for full implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010), regarding the need to combat sexual violence, given that was an important aspect of resolving conflict and of peacebuilding. It was desirable to create a synergy between policies to combat HIV/AIDS and those aimed at combating sexual violence in post-conflict and peacebuilding situations. He also invited the international financial institutions to bolster their support for HIV/AIDS programmes.
“On the ground, we must raise awareness of parties to conflict to the impact of their conduct as regards civilian populations, especially that which compounds the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he said. In peacekeeping missions, programmes that combated HIV must be strengthened, as should policies promoting “zero-tolerance” measures.
The Security Council then unanimously adopted resolution 1983 (2011).
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, welcoming the adoption of the resolution, said: “We have come a long way since health issues were first discussed in this Council,” adding that “now is the time for bold action”.
Since the first Council resolution had been adopted in 2000, he said, the United Nations had become an integral part of the global solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and a number of Governments were training troops to make a difference. Force Commanders in missions around the world had become involved in the effort, with predeployment HIV training now standard, more than 1,500 peacekeepers trained as peer counsellors and some 14,000 receiving testing or counselling.
The fight against the pandemic in post-conflict areas had also become part of the Security Council’s broader mission to protect women and children, and to work so “people recovering from war do not also have to recover from disease”, he said, adding: “In conflict zones, in refugee camps — anywhere people fear for their lives — women, young people and children are more vulnerable to contracting HIV.”
“Before resolution 1308 (2000) was adopted,” he said, “uniformed personnel were viewed in terms of the risk they might pose to civilians. Now, we understand that United Nations troops and police are part of prevention, treatment and care.” Programmes in security sector reform and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration provided a critical context for such efforts.
Given the atrocious fact that rape was still a weapon of choice in many conflicts, he urged all Member States to link efforts to combat HIV/AIDS with campaigns against sexual violence and for the rights of women, recognizing the dangerous interaction between AIDS, the international drug trade, sex trafficking, the abuse of women and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Overall, the effort, he said, must involve regional partners and particularly civil society organizations, including the activists, researchers and health workers who had been important to the progress so far.
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