Wednesday December 19, 2018

Zero Discrimination Day: UN agency urges people to ‘make noise’ against HIV/AIDS discrimination

Each year on March 1, the world marks Zero Discrimination Day “to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society

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HIV/AIDS, VOA
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United Nations, March 2, 2017: The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Wednesday marked Zero Discrimination Day with a “Make Some Noise” campaign, urging people to speak up against discrimination.

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“Discrimination takes many forms, and can be based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or age,” Xinhua news agency quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying.

“For this year’s campaign, UNAIDS is putting particular focus on the need for zero discrimination in health-care settings,” Dujarric added.

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According to UNAIDS, people living with disabilities are nearly three times more likely to be denied health-care than other people.

“Healthcare settings should be safe and supportive environments. It is unacceptable that discrimination is inhibiting access to care today,” said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the UNAIDS, in his message for Zero Discrimination Day.

Each year on March 1, the world marks Zero Discrimination Day “to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society,” the UN agency said in a press release.

“Eliminating discrimination in health-care settings is critical, and we must demand that it become a reality,” Sidibe added.

The right to health is a fundamental human right that includes access to affordable, timely and quality health-care services for all, yet discrimination remains widespread in health-care settings, creating a serious barrier to access to HIV services.

Data from 50 countries from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index cited by UNAIDS show that one in eight people living with HIV report being denied health care.

Around 60 per cent of European Union/European Economic Area countries report that stigma and discrimination among health-care professionals remains a barrier to the provision of adequate HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

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“Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, to live free from discrimination, coercion and abuse,” said Sidibe.

“Discrimination doesn’t just hurt individuals it hurts everyone, whereas welcoming and embracing diversity in all its forms brings benefits for all,” Sidibe added. (IANS)

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As Climate Talks Come to a Halt, Africa Suffers From Global Warming

The World Health Organization warns that climate change will exacerbate the impact of some disease and health problems.

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Drought, Climate change, global warming
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA

Efforts to boost global action against climate change are stuttering, as several key nations have objected to a key United Nations-backed report on the impacts of rising temperatures at the COP24 talks in Poland.

Many developing nations say they are already suffering from the impact of climate change, especially in south Asia and Africa, where water shortages and intense storms are putting lives and livelihoods in danger.

In Malawi in southern Africa, a bustling fish market stood at Kachulu on the shores of Lake Chilwa just five months ago. Now, hundreds of fishing boats lie marooned across the vast bay as vultures circle over the cracked, sun-baked mud. Water levels here fluctuate annually, but scientists say climate change is making the seasonal dry-out of the lake far more dramatic. Fishermen are being forced to leave and look for work elsewhere, says Sosten Chiotha, of the non-governmental organization ‘LEAD’ – Leadership for Environment and Development.

“Climate change contributes to the current recessions that we are experiencing, because you can see that in 2012 there was a recession where the lake lost about 80 percent of its water. Then it recovered in 2013, but not fully. So since then every year we have been experiencing these recessions,” Chiotha said.

Scientists gathering at the COP24 climate talks say it is developing countries like Malawi that are being hit hardest by the impacts of climate change.

The charity Water Aid has released a report ranking the countries worst-hit by water shortages, with Sudan, Niger and Pakistan making up the top three.

“There are people who are living with the impact of climate change right now. And they’re feeling those impacts not through carbon, but through water. And as we’ve seen over the past few years and will continue to see for many years to come unfortunately, is a huge increase in water stress and absolute water scarcity,” Water Aid’s Jonathan Farr told VOA from the climate talks currently underway in the Polish city of Katowice.

Richer nations have pledged $100 billion a year for poorer nations to deal with the consequences of climate change. Water Aid says they are failing to deliver the money.

Scientists say emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 to have any hope of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius – the target agreed in the Paris climate deal.

 

 

Global Warming, Climate Change, Africa
Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. VOA

However, the number of coal-fired power stations – the most polluting for

m of energy generation – is growing. The German organization ‘Urgewald’ calculates that $478 billion had been invested into expansion of the coal industry between January 2016 and September 2018.

Also Read: To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

Meanwhile the World Health Organization warns that climate change will exacerbate the impact of some disease and health problems, including malaria, malnutrition and heat exposure.

Also Read: To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

There is little optimism at the talks that much concrete progress will be made, as several countries including the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have already voiced objections to a key scientific report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (VOA)