Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — The Caribbean’s lead spokesman on HIV/AIDS, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has outlined elements which could form the roadmap for post 2015 development agenda and removing the barriers in policies, laws, values and behaviour that are spoilers in the march toward social justice.
He told a three-day consultative workshop in Jamaica, part of the PAN-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS’ (PANCAP) Justice for All and Human Rights campaign, being held under the theme: “Advancing justice for all and human rights in the Caribbean,” that stigma and discrimination is one of the most challenging issues that could erode the gains in the AIDS response and prevent achieving the goal of “ending AIDS.”
The first element he identified is emphasising shared responsibility especially to increase sustainable investment in the AIDS response as a partnership among the private sector, governments and CSOs .
“This is aimed at increasing country ownership of the response as well as sustained global support, especially to support programmes for the vulnerable and most in need population or affected groups in both low and middle income countries in which most of the Caribbean now fall,” Prime Minister Douglas told the over 75 delegates at the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica.
Dr. Douglas also pointed to increasing community involvement in policy development and implementation, strengthening partnerships and promoting social protection systems so as not to “leave anyone behind.”
“Increasing awareness of human sexuality through highlighting policies on social and reproductive health and rights utilizing appropriate national regional and international models. In the case of the Caribbean, perfecting the health and family life education programmes and making them age appropriate and identifying those programmes that can best bring about gender equality and ensure that they engage both male and female. In this regard, pay particular attention to eliminating violence against women and girls which is horrendously high in the Region and is associated with the increasing HIV prevalence among young women,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He called for the active promotion and identifying the processes for reducing and eliminating those laws that actually contribute to discrimination on the basis of gender, race and sexual preferences, and those that particularly infringe the rights of the LGBT communities.
The St. Kitts and Nevis leader also called for identifying creative leadership and “champions” of the Justice for all.”
“And here I wish to challenge and embrace the process among the various clusters of faith leaders, parliamentarians, private sector and CSOs and young people, with emphasis being placed on nurturing youth leadership across all clusters,” said Prime Minister Douglas.