Nane Annan, Wife of U.N. Secretary General, Urges Indian Police To Help End Discrimination Against HIV-Positive People
Nane Annan, wife of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on Wednesday in New Delhi, India, encouraged Indian police officers to treat HIV-positive people with tolerance and dignity, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. Some AIDS advocates have complained that the police in India harass HIV-positive people and social workers helping commercial sex workers. Annan, who is accompanying her husband on a four-day official visit to India, spoke to a group of law enforcement officers who were trained to work with HIV-positive people as part of a program sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and India's National AIDS Control Organization. "They're human beings, and they need to be treated as humans," Annan said, adding, "With the right knowledge you have gained about HIV/AIDS, you will be able to deal with those affected in a more humane manner and also create awareness in society." About 12,000 police officers from New Delhi's 60,000-member police force have been trained in AIDS awareness through the "New Dawn" program, which was launched six months ago, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. UNDP chose to work with the police force because of its close interaction with commercial sex workers. "The police work closely with high-risk groups like sex workers and drug addicts, and hence the idea is that the force embrace an overarching framework of preventive policing," UNDP spokesperson Kumar Tiku said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/27). UNAIDS figures released in July 2004 show that between 2.5 million and 8.5 million HIV-positive people live in India, although a government estimate places the number at 5.1 million (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/21).
Annan Calls for More Empowerment of Women in Indonesia
Nane Annan last week during a trip to Indonesia called for more empowerment of women to help stop the spread of HIV, the Jakarta Post reports. Annan said that the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS "interested her deeply" and pointed out that the disease is spreading most rapidly among women who are infected by their partners, according to the Post. "There cannot be any stereotyping anymore," Annan said, adding that a strategy to fight the spread of the virus will require no less than a "social revolution that will give more power to women." Annan called for more education for women and girls, saying, "Make sure the child is educated, empowered and can decide what she wants to do." Annan said she was "heartened" that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Kristiani Herawati had made HIV/AIDS one of the top priorities for cooperation among Asian and African countries, according to the Post. She added that she was "moved" by a visit to the Spiritia Foundation in South Jakarta, Indonesia, which gives support to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, according to the Post. Annan also met with Frika Chia Iskandar, an Indonesian who chairs the Asia Pacific Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (Nurbaiti, Jakarta Post, 4/27).