International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA 2015) ought to include serious focus on the human rights of LGBTI people.
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of the International Conference on AIDS and STI’s In Africa (ICASA) has announced that Zimbabwe has been chosen to host ICASA 2015. How do LGBTI people and those concerned with the wellbeing of LGBTI people attending the conference feel about this, considering the terrifying rhetoric of the vehemently anti-gay President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and the fact that key populations and LGBTI people and their specific issues, ought to be openly and fully represented at the conference.
The SAA Board officially announced the host country at a press conference in Harare on the 25th of June 2015. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa representing the Government of Zimbabwe and Dr. Ihab Ahmed, SAA President.
The 18th ICASA conference for 2015 will be hosted from the 29th November to 4th December 2015.
The conference theme “AIDS in Post 2015: Linking Leadership, Science & Human Rights” is touted to engage the whole continent and all stakeholders in the post MDG framework, where sustainability of the response in reaching 90, 90, 90 of UNAIDS will not be possible if Human rights are not key priority for a new vision of leadership in the context of strengthening the application of science based evidence.
The 18th ICASA is an opportunity to renew this global commitment by drawing the world’s attention to the fact that the legacy is now under threat as a result of the global economic downturn.
What they have failed to mention is that the legacy is facing a downturn also because key populations have become subject to fuether and more harsh criminalizing laws.
Organizers note: "This year’s ICASA is an opportunity for the international community, and all Africans, to join efforts in committing to achieving an AIDS-free Africa."
Melanie Nathan, the executive Dirctor of African HRC asks:
"How is an AIDS-free Africa possible for as long as LGBTI people are cut off from medical, as well as open and honest sex education and information, due to extreme persecution, sanctioned by anti-gay legislation and the rhetoric of crazed politicians? Conferences of this nature should include a call for the decriminalization of sexuality. Let us hope the issue will be properly addressed and LGBTI people will be fully included with safe passage to and at the conference."
Given the urgency of the issue, the ICASA reports that they are anticipating 7 000 -10 000 of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, activists, PLHIV, government leaders – as well as a number of heads of state and civil society representatives – will be joining the debate on how to achieve this vision.
The conference will be chaired by Dr Ihab AbdelRhaman Ahmed, an epidemiologist and President of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA). It will be co-chaired by Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa, Health and Child care Minister representing the Government of Zimbabwe.
The conference will be an excellent opportunity to promote inter-sectoral achievements in the AIDS response and to strengthen the partnership among governments, civil society, and development partners.
THE OBJECTIVES OF ICASA 2015:
Increase African leadership and ownership, as well as investment in financing to support the continental health response.
Strengthen the interaction between the public health, science and human right approaches in the control and elimination of the HIV/AIDS and associate diseases.
Improve awareness and learning on knowledge, skills, best practices from the response to AIDS and other emergent epidemics (EBOLA, HEPATITIS, SRAS and NCD’s)
Promote the development and scale up of evidence-based interventions for HIV/AIDS and associate diseases in the post 2015 era.
The lates Press Statement regarding thelocation reads:
"Following the first and the second press releases issued by The Society for AIDS in Africa, SAA is pleased to announce Zimbabwe as the host Country for ICASA 2015. Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe will welcome all the delegates of ICASA 2015 at The Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa during the signing of the MoU assured that the Government of Zimbabwe is enthusiastic to welcome all delegates to ICASA 2015 in Harare.
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) wishes to assure all delegates and stakeholders that ICASA 2015 in Zimbabwe will be staged as planned. All registrations pertaining to ICASA 2015; delegate registration, abstract submission, abstract reviewer registration, registration for marketing items and booking for satellite as well as exhibition are still ongoing via the Conference Website.
All secured Tunisia visas should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org for re-issuance by the relevant authorities of Zimbabwe at no additional cost. Due to time constraints, visas will be issued to all paid delegates upon arrival at the entry point in Zimbabwe. However, new invitation letters will be sent to paid delegates.
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) would like to thank all esteemed stakeholders and cherished delegates for their patience and wish all a successful ICASA 2015.
For more information on the ongoing registration, abstract submission and booking of marketing items for ICASA 2015, kindly visit: www.icasa2015zimbabwe.org
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA was founded in 1989 at the fourth International Symposium on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa (call ICASA) held in Marseille, France by a group of African scientists, activists and advocates in response to this epidemic. SAA envisions and African continent free of HIV, TB and malaria and their debilitating effects on communal and societal structures, where communities are socially and economically empowered to live product lives in dignity. For more information on SAA please visit www.saafrica.org ." For more information about ICASA please contact: Permanent Secretariat: Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA): Email: email@example.com