--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------see ACTION below

 

If you have been refused a visa to come to AIDS2002,
please tell
INTAIDS so they can help to map where
the difficulties are occurring and notify the organizers.

Spain denies visas to participants in the AIDS Conference in Barcelona

Red2002 Press Statement ----------------------------------- [ Spanish version below ]

Serious diplomatic crisis

In an incomprehensible move, Spain is denying visas to participants of the XIV Conference of the AIDS to be held in Barcelona from July 7-12 of July, an event that the country,s Ministry of Health, has contributed 300,000 euros to. It is a whopping contradiction as it is scholarship holders and people from developing countries, many of whom are from non governmental organizations (NGOs) or are HIV positive and whose expenses are paid by the Conference, thanks to a program that the Spanish government has helped to create. Nevertheless, entrance visas are not being granted.

"We are absolutely ashamed and indignant that this is happening", declared Joan Tallada, on behalf of the Red2002, an organization coordinating the participation of Spanish NGOs "How much sense does it make to fund a Conference and then prevent people from participating? Why contribute money to a program; why pay for airplane tickets, and then prevent these same people from traveling? They are throwing away the money of those who contributed it".

The most affected counties are from Asia, like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and Africa, like Uganda, the Ivory Coast and Kenya. But the most chaotic situation is in Colombia where the recent visa requirements has caused up to 3-day line-ups in front of Spanish consulates in order only to apply for a visa. With luck, the consulate will grant appointments within six months!

Shaun Mellors, Community Coordinator for the International Conference, is at a loss: "the International AIDS Conference is not held in the USA because of this kind of problem. When Barcelona was chosen, we were guaranteed that participants would not have any problem. Let us hope that this is resolved, or we will have to refrain from holding this type of conference in countries with such restrictive entrance policies.

In previous presentations to the press, the people in charge of the Conference have demonstrated their satisfaction at the success of the conference and the special emphasis given to relations with Latin America and countries from the developing world. This further contradicts the present situation. "Spain,s image before the international AIDS community is in jeopardy " stated Tallada. "This AIDS Conference must give continuity to the agenda of the previous conference in Durban, and the focus on the situation in developing countries where the vast majority of the epidemic is occurring. If the people of those countries cannot come to Spain, the Conference will lose its value and its legitimacy. It is an insult to people who already live a tremendous injustice by their lack of resources and access to treatment.

Tallada demands the direct intervention of the Minister of the Exterior to inform Spanish consulates throughout the world to end this situation.

For more information

Joan Tallada (Red2002)
637 464 803

Eugenia Sebastián (Red2002)
661 605 733

************

España deniega visados a participantes de la Conferencia del SIDA de Barcelona Comunicado de prensa de la Red2002

Grave crisis diplomática

En una muestra de incoherencia y despilfarro, las embajadas españolas están denegando visados a participantes en la XIV Conferencia del SIDA que se celebrará en Barcelona del 7 al 12 de julio próximos, un evento que el propio gobierno, a través del Ministerio de Sanidad, contribuye a financiar con 300.000 euros. La contradicción es máxima cuando se trata de los becarios, personas de países en desarrollo que vienen con los gastos pagados por la Conferencia, muchas de ellas de ONG y seropositivas, gracias a un programa que el propio gobierno español ha ayudado a crear. Y sin embargo, no se están otorgando los visados.

"Estamos absolutamente avergonzados e indignados con lo que está pasando", ha declarado Joan Tallada, en nombre de la Red2002, entidad que coordina la participación de las ONG españolas. "¿Qué sentido tiene financiar una Conferencia y luego impedir que la gente participe en ella? ¿Por qué se aporta dinero a un programa, se pagan billetes de avión, y luego se impide que esas mismas personas viajen? Se está tirando el dinero de los contribuyentes".

Los países más afectados son los asiáticos, como India, Bangladesh o Paquistán, y los africanos, como Uganda (la que debería ser una de las delegaciones más importantes), Costa de Marfil o Kenia. Pero la situación más caótica se vive en Colombia: la reciente imposición de visado a los colombianos ha provocado colas ante los consulados de hasta 3 días, con sus noches, de espera sólo para poder entregar los formularios: luego nada más se sabe. Con suerte, el consulado otorgará cita para ¡dentro de seis meses!

Shaun Mellors, Coordinador Comunitario Internacional de la Conferencia, ha mostrado su estupor: "Las Conferencias Internacionales del SIDA dejaron de hacerse en EE UU precisamente por este tipo de problemas. Cuando se eligió Barcelona, se nos garantizó que los participantes no tendrían ningún problema. Esperemos que este tema se resuelva, o tendremos que replantear la celebración de este tipo de encuentros en los países con políticas de entrada tan restrictivas"

En anteriores presentaciones a la prensa, los responsables de la Conferencia anunciaron con satisfacción el éxito del encuentro y el especial énfasis que quería darse a la relación con América Latina y el resto de países en desarrollo, lo cual entra en contradicción con lo que está pasando. "La imagen de España ante la comunidad internacional del VIH está por los suelos", ha afirmado Tallada. "Esta Conferencia del SIDA debía dar continuidad a la agenda de la anterior en Durban, en la que se puso el acento en la situación de los países en desarrollo, donde ocurre la vasta mayoría de la epidemia. Si las personas de esos países no pueden venir a España, la Conferencia perderá su valor y su legitimidad. Es un insulto a personas que ya viven una tremenda injusticia por la falta de recursos y acceso a tratamiento".

Tallada demanda la intervención directa del Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores para poner fin a una situación que ha calificado de esperpéntica dando órdenes precisas a los consulados españoles en todo el mundo.

Para más información

Joan Tallada (Red2002)
637 464 803

Eugenia Sebastián (Red2002)
661 605 733

Eligible for a scholarship? Then you can't have a visa!

International Conference on AIDS: receiving a scholarship prevents one from acquiring a visa

In its response to a press release issued by the Red2002, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affaris has clarified that participants of the XIV International AIDS Conference to be held July 7 12 in Barcelona, must demonstrate sufficient economic means to obtain an entrance visa, as detailed in Spanish law.

In an official notice released this afternoon, the Ministry indicated that instructions had been given to accelerate the process because of the great number of requests for entrance visas. Nevertheless, according to a European Press release, the Ministry indicated that "sometimes the visa applicants do not fulfill the requirements that Spanish law requests, such as the minimum economic means that an individual must have when entering the country, and that the process will ultimately depend on whether delegates are able to fulfill these legal conditions".

"We do not understand this", replies Joan Tallada on behalf of the Red2002, a network of Non Governmental AIDS Organizations (NGOs) who will participate in the Conference. Tallada says that as is traditional, the Conference has been administering an international program of scholarships that reaches more than 1,000 people across the world, mostly from developing countries, including about 100 journalists (a local program also exists which will provide scholarships to 400 recipients from Spain). Monies for this program are being provided by the Conference and a number of official sources including Barcelona's City Council and the government of Spain, through the Ministry of Health. "the scholarships are provided to people that would otherwise be unable to participate in the Conference by their own means. If this is a reason not to grant visas, then we are before an absurd challenge and it fills us with dread".

The same can be said of other participants without sufficient resources who do not have scholarships to the Conference, but who will attend through international organisations like ONUSIDA, the WHO, or large NGOs who will pay for their travel and accommodation in Barcelona during the Conference.

Spanish NGOs hope that the Ministry of Health remains word true to its word about the importance of this world-wide gathering on AIDS, and convinces its colleagues in the Ministry of the Exterior of the necessity of resolving the situation. Otherwise, according to Tallada, this meeting will be a complete fiasco: "a world AIDS conference without the world's developing countries is nothing more than nonsense; it is an offense against which we will fight with all our efforts".

Joan Tallada
Local Community Chair
14th International AIDS Conference Barcelona, 7-12 July 2002
www.aids2002.com

Facilitator
Red 2002 [Network 2002] www.red2002.org

c/o gTt www.gtt-vih.org
Carrer del Pi, 10
08002 Barcelona Spain

Phone: + 34 93 412 00 83
Mobile: + 34 637 464 803
Fax: + 34 93 317 22 23


Tuesday, June 18, 2002 lista.esp@red2002.org
This is a shameful situation, with two weeks until the begining of the International Conference on AIDS in Barcelona Spain.
Receiving a scholarship should NOT prevent one from acquiring a VISA!

TAKE ACTION NOW

Make massive phone calls to Ministry of 'Asuntos' and express your outrage and concern over the fact that so many people are being denied visa's to attend the conference.

As well you can send an e-mail to: gil.gonzalez@mae.es ***

***********************************

This campaign is an international success: join us!

Despite there has been some moves forward to solve the overall situation, there are still problems all around the world. Your contribution is essential.

*** The address gil.gonzalez@mae.es has been cancelled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
*** You can alternatively use fax number + 34 91 577 6725 or mail to ministro@mae.es

***********************************

PLEASE POST ON LIST-SERVES WIDELY

----- Original Message -----

June 19, 2002 -------------------------From: -lista.esp@red2002.org

Protest against the denial of visas to the participants of the Int. AIDS Conference in Barcelona
Participate in the global action against The ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain

The Red2002, a network that brings together Spanish AIDS organizations for the XIV Int'l Conf which is held in Barcelona from the 7-12 of July, invites to express disagreement and indignation regarding the denial of visa's to the participants of the conference.
You can call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the following numbers:

+ 34 91 379 96 00
+ 34 91 379 92 64
+ 34 91 379 95 61
+ 34 91 379 98 25
+ 34 91 379 97 54
+ 34 91 379 16 05
+ 34 91 379 16 07
+ 34 91 379 16 06
+ 34 91 379 17 00

With a message like:

"I am.................., and I am calling on behalf of ( the organization) ............................... of...................... (city or country). I want to express my outrage at the policy to refuse visas to participants of the International AIDS Conference. I request that you inform the Minister that this policy is in opposition to human rights, violates the international commitments made by Spain and seriously damages the image of Spain before the international community. I ask to the Government of Spain to change its attitude and allow the participants to arrive at Barcelona. Thank you for your attention."


Although the calls are more impressive because they block the number, completely you can send a protest letter to gil.gonzalez@mae.es
***
according to the model

*** The address gil.gonzalez@mae.es has been cancelled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
*** You can alternatively use fax number + 34 91 577 6725 or mail to ministro@mae.es

"I am.................., and I represent the organization ............................... of...................... (city or country). I want to express my outrage and protest the policy to refuse of visas to participants of the International AIDS Conference. I request that you inform the Minister this policy is in opposition to the human rights, violates the international commitments made by Spain and seriously damages the image of Spain before the international community. Thank you for your attention "

The implication of all of this is very important and we need to resolve this problem.

Joan Tallada
Coordinador Comunitario Local
XIV Conferencia Internacional del SIDA
Barcelona, 7-12 julio 2002
www.aids2002.com
Facilitador
Red 2002
www.red2002.org
c/o Grupo de Trabajo sobre Tratamientos del VIH (gTt)
Carrer del Pi, 10
08002 Barcelona Spain
Teléfono: + 34 93 412 00 83
Móvil: + 34 637 464 803
Fax: + 34 93 317 38 32

Protesta contra la denegación de visados a los participantes de la Conferencia del SIDA de Barcelona

Protesta contra la denegación de visados a los participantes de la Conferencia del SIDA de Barcelona

Participa en una acción global ante al Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de España

La Red2002, entidad que canaliza la participación de las ONG del SIDA españolas en la XIV Conferencia Internacional que se celeba en Barcelona, del 7 al 12 de julio, te invita a expresar tu malestar e indignación por la denegación de visados a los participantes en la Conferencia.

Puedos hacerlo llamando al Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores a los siguientes números de teléfono

+ 34 91 379 96 00
+ 34 91 379 92 64
+ 34 91 379 95 61
+ 34 91 379 98 25
+ 34 91 379 97 54
+ 34 91 379 16 05
+ 34 91 379 16 07
+ 34 91 379 16 06
+ 34 91 379 17 00

Con un mensaje como éste

"Soy .................., y llamo en nombre la organización............................... de ...................... (ciudad o país). Quiero expresar mi protesta por la política de denegación de visados a los participantes de la Conferencia Internacional del SIDA. Le ruego que le hagan saber al Sr. Ministro que esta política es contrario a los derechos humanos, viola los compromisos internacionales adquiridos por España y daña gravemente la imagen de España ante la comunidad internacional. Le pido al Gobierno de España que modifique su actitud y permita a los participantes llegar a Barcelona. Gracias por su atención."

Aunque las llamadas son más impactantes porque bloquean los número, complementariamente puedes enviar una carta de protesta a gil.gonzalez@mae.es según el modelo

"Soy .................., y le escribo en nombre la organización............................... de ...................... (ciudad o país). Quiero expresar mi protesta por la política de denegación de visados a los participantes de la Conferencia Internacional del SIDA. Le ruego que le hagan saber al Sr. Ministro que esta política es contrario a los derechos humanos, viola los compromisos internacionales adquiridos por España y daña gravemente la imagen de España ante la comunidad internacional. Gracias por su atención"

Es muy importante la implicación de todos y todas para solventar este problema.

Joan Tallada
Coordinador Comunitario Local XIV Conferencia Internacional del SIDA Barcelona, 7-12 julio 2002 www.aids2002.com

Facilitador
Red 2002 www.red2002.org

c/o Grupo de Trabajo sobre Tratamientos del VIH (gTt)
Carrer del Pi, 10
08002 Barcelona Spain

Teléfono: + 34 93 412 00 83
Móvil: + 34 637 464 803
Fax: + 34 93 317 38 32

*****************************************

Notice from the XIV International AIDS Conference :
Status Report on Awarding of Spanish Visas to Foreign Delegates

Some time ago, the Spanish Foreign Ministry contacted its embassies around the world explaining that the XIV International AIDS Conference will take place in Barcelona from July 7-12. In this communication, embassies were informed about the conference and directed to expedite visas sufficiently in advance for all those persons who fulfilled the necessary requirements to enable them to participate in the Conference.

In addition, the conference has been, and is forwarding to the Ministry of Health lists of all registered participants (delegates, media, scholarship recipients, and so on). The Ministry of Health sends these lists to all embassies. This process is working to some extent.

Please note that the lists are prepared by the secretariat and forwarded to the Ministry of Health. To have your name on these lists, you must either:

- Have received a scholarship from the XIV International AIDS Conference
- be registered as media (and this registration must have been confirmed by the conference)
- be registered as a conference delegate, student or accompanying person (and have paid in full for such registration)
- Be an exhibitor
- Be an invited speaker

If your name is not on this list, you will not be granted a visa.

We request that all people with a valid passport who have applied for visas and been turned down to email us at jrubio@aids2002.com. You are requested to provide the following information:
------Full name (as it appears in your passport)
------Address
------Telephone number
------Email address
------Passport number, country of passport, date of issue and date of expiry
------A BRIEF description of the reason the embassy concerned gave you for turning down your visa.

We will then attempt to follow this up with the Spanish government. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. We are committed to ensuring the participation of people from all over the world.


REPORTS >>>

Visa difficulties at Spanish consulates in India - Shyamala Nataraj, India

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am writing to tell you what's happening to many of us in India who are seeking visas to attend the conference at Barcelona. My name is Shyamala Nataraj and I work with the South India AIDS Action Programme in Chennai, India. I hold a scholarship from the conference as a key correspondent for the conference daily newspaper.

About a week ago, I contacted the consular office in Chennai to find out details regarding visas to Spain. I was told that the office had no visa application forms and was asked to contact a particular travel service. They didn't have any forms either and asked me to get back to the consular office. In between repeated phone calls and no responses, I managed to get through again and was advised to contact the Spanish embassy in New Delhi, a good 2000 kilometers away. When I called the embassy (last Tuesday) a gentleman replied all visa related enquiries would be responded only on Mondays and Fridays between 2 and 4p.m. I called on Friday (this afternoon) and was informed that their computer was down and the embassy would answer my questions regarding visa application only next week.

Meanwhile I was simultaneously checking with the consular representative in Chennai. The representative said "the embassy is very careful about allowing Indians in, they have given instructions that only a very limited number of applicants should be given forms". She added that she had no forms but she would try to get in touch with the embassy in Delhi. She also asked me to meet her with the relevant details. I explained that a colleague of mine was also traveling to Barcelona and needed an application too.

When I went to meet her this morning, I was greeted by an assistant who abruptly said that the consul was busy and would not be able to meet with me. He also added that he had no forms and would be unable to give me any. I stood my ground and was finally able to establish an old family connection. That seemed to do the trick and I was asked to step into the office.

Once there, I was again told how "particular" the embassy was in allowing Indians in. I was asked for my papers and, finally, an application form was handed over to me with much reluctance. When I requested an additional form for my colleague, I was told that mine was the last available one.

It is obvious from my papers that I am an educated, affluent and well traveled Indian who speaks English well. My colleague does not speak English fluently and, is not as well qualified as I am. In addition, she has not traveled outside the country before. However, she has worked on the issue for the last 10 years and comes from a vulnerable community.

A few hours ago, a friend from another organization called saying that the embassy had just refused visas to people sponsored by the USAID in India. I am also given to understand that if we require a visa, we will have to travel to Delhi at our own cost, spend a week between submitting the papers and receiving the visa (or not). Travel to Delhi costs approximately $.400 per person. Our accommodation at Delhi, food, local travel etc will be a substantial amount. In addition we will also have to pay the visa fees which are significant.

The conference has booked our tickets for July 3. I cannot understand how we will be able to get our visas on time especially because none of us are really in a position to spend either the money or the time in the attempt. Quiet apart from work related commitments; I am a single woman with two young children whom I cannot leave for long stretches of time. My colleague has similar constraints.

This is not the first time this has happened. Every time we are invited to a "developed/rich" country, we are subject to similar travails. Why? It is obvious that Indians and citizens of many other developing countries are unwelcome in these places. Why then, should conferences be held there?

Everybody knows that HIV & AIDS is a problem largely affecting developing countries. Most of the original, innovative and effective work being done with vulnerable and affected people, is also in these countries. Our organization itself is making two oral presentations and putting up 11 posters. Surely the conference organizers can find places in our parts of the world where there is no such discrimination against nations and peoples. While these incidents have humiliated and shamed us, the larger shame must be reserved for countries that claim to fight stigma and discrimination and protect human rights and civil liberties.

One question remains. Is it ethical for us to attempt to attend the conference held in a country that does not want us?

Please reply to siaap@eth.net or shyamnats@hotmail.com *-- Shyamala.

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Boycott conference if visas remain denied - Anonymous

Dear Forum Members
Living in a developing country (Africa) and reading all the problems delegates, scholarship or self-paying delegates have in obtaining visas to enter Spain I feel that the time has come for this situation to be dealt with not only by the Conference Secretariat, but the global community as a whole. As has rightly been stated in one of the correspondents e-mails, it seems that the developing countries are the one's being targeted, and that the North will have no problems with visas irrespective if people have "sufficient funds" to cover the cost of their stay or not. As a global community, we have strived for years to counter discriminatory issues in various countries around issues of HIV/AIDS, irrespective if a person is HIV-positive or not, BUT the perception seems to be that ALL scholarship recipients from the developing world attending Barcelona ARE HIV-positive.

The Spanish authorities seem to have taken the IAS on a roller-coaster ride from day one. They knew full well the amount of delegates that would be attending this conference, based on previous conferences would be in the thousands, and the resulting revenue it would bring into the Spanish economy must have made them smile. Why not give all the assurances required when selected as host country knowing full well that to rescind on an issue such as visas at such a late stage of the conference would not prevent the conference from going ahead (or would it?).

The IAS has, over the years built a strong relationship between "Scientific and Community" participation of the conference. The conference of Vancouver "Bridging the Gap" bears testimony to this. If the IAS succumbs to the Spanish authorities despicable attitude toward visa granting for developing countries unless strict criteria is met then they will have destroyed in the eyes of thousands globally their true intentions.

I challenge the IAS and all delegates attending Barcelona to boycott this conference unless visas are granted in a titmouse manner to ALL persons applying, irrespective of where they come from. I challenge our activist brothers and sisters of the North, who have the power to make such an international statement globally that has never been seen or heard of before.

I agree that if scholarship/self-paying attendees are denied the opportunity to attend Barcelona due to visa restrictions then this conference will fail. It will be seen as nothing but a talk shop for the rich and famous, and it will destroy the hard work that many people have done over the years in bringing the "community" to such a prestigious platform. -- Anon

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"Spain Under Fire over AIDS Conference" - BBC News (06.21.02)

The Spanish government has denied claims it is preventing people with HIV from attending the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona July 7-12. The organizers of the bi- annual event have received complaints from several countries where Spanish embassies have allegedly blocked visa applications by those wanting to attend. Delegates from the developing world who want to travel to the conference say they have been thwarted by Spanish bureaucracy.

In Uganda, there are reports that visa applicants have been asked to prove their HIV status to Spanish officials - even though it is illegal to discriminate against HIV-positive individuals under Spanish law. In countries like India, Colombia and Nigeria, conference delegates say they have been unable to get the travel papers they need from embassies because of the need to prove they are not planning to enter Spain to look for work.

A spokesperson for the Spanish foreign ministry denied that HIV-positive delegates were banned from entering the country. However, he confirmed that delegates would have to meet minimum economic conditions to enter Spain and would need to show they had medical insurance. Shaun Mellors, community coordinator for the conference said, "The international AIDS conference is not held in the US because of this kind of problem. When Barcelona was chosen, we were guaranteed participants would not have any problem. Let us hope that this is resolved or we will have to refrain from holding this type of conference in countries with such restrictive entrance policies." In a statement, conference organizers said, "The conference will do everything in its power and within the law to ensure that all registered delegates obtain the required permission to enter Spain." Delegates who have been refused visas to attend the conference have been asked to contact the organizers by e-mail at jrubio@aids2002.com.

********************************************************************

Support for welcoming venues in future - Dinesh Kumar, India

Dear friends,

It is a matter of serious concern that delegates from India and other developing countries are facing problems in obtaining visa for traveling to Barcelona. It is shameful that visa applicants are being treated shabbily as narrated by Shyamala.

If the developed countries are weary of people from developing countries visiting their country why do they allow holding of international meets in their country.

In my opinion the organizers in future should opt for such venues which welcome delegates from all countries with open arms. Countries like India, Nepal or Malaysia can host big meets as they have sufficient infrastructure.

By restricting the entry of delegates the Spanish authorities are defeating the very purpose of Barcelona meet.

Dr. Dinesh Kumar - Health and Development Initiative-India www.healthinitiative.org - dinesh_kumar@vsnl.com

********************************************************************

Outraged at visa denial, support for boycott - John F. K. Mutikani

Dear colleagues and organizers,

Why are we all being fooled by the imperialistic character of Spain? I have always thought that the International Conference was not political or segregationalistic. Yes it is clear that the bulk of people being denied visas are from developing countries and sure as hell that is where HIV/AIDS is most prevalent. Who is this conference supposed to be representing? We have seen earlier on that the organizers forgot that there must be representation from the most hit countries in the panelist lists, and now this shameless visa fiasco. ladies and gentlemen, is worthy attending this shameful event?...Shameful because of the rude awakening that Spain sends everybody into.

This conference was announced soon after Durban, SA and the Spanish Govt and its embassies knew that the world was coming to Spain. But Hey! They did not think that Africa, India, South America and the rest of the developing world would step into their untouchable soil. (pardon my language, but I am disgusted at governments that preach human rights by the left and breach the right by the right hand). I agree with the former writer that let us all boycott the conference. It is not too late to drop back. I am supposed to make a poster presentation, but I am withdrawing. I
am not attending the racial show.

Let's all show solidarity. This conference has developed into a racial playground, and the big NATIONS are condoning such actions. Organizers, I understand you are trying to assist. Well, Assisting is not the word here. You should have made sure that this would not happen. I believe most of you knew what Spain is like and you should have addressed the issues well in advance so that people would have been aware of the problem. All said and done, I think this conference can be meaning fully held in a developing country... Think of Durban.

John F. K. Mutikani (USA) mazodzewegono@yahoo.com

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Fast action needed for Nigerians - Ayodele Sebiotimo

Hi guys this Visa problem is a general problem. I have been going to Spanish Embassy for the past 3 weeks; it has been one appointment or the other. The last one is being arranged for Thursday 27 of June while I am to leave Nigeria by 30th of June.

The truth of the matter is that the Spanish Embassy is playing Game with the organizer of XIV International AIDS conference. That is the way I see the whole thing I think the orgarniser should do something fast before is too late Good Luck to us all.

Ayodele Sebiotimo - ayosebi@yahoo.com

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Intervention by Spanish Government a necessity - Jenita Perera

We from Sri Lanka facing the same problem. We were asked to come for an interview to look into the possibility of issuing a visa on the "17th of July" The applications were handed over on the 19th of June after a tedious process.

Does the Spanish Government other than sending the names not support us? Over here in Sri Lanka the visas are issued through the French Embassy. Unless of an intervention by the Spanish government I do not think that we will get the visas.

Jenita Perera, District Co-ordinator
Save the Children UK - 206, Yasasiripura
740, Freeman Mavatha - Anuradhapura - Sr Lanka
Tel: 025 - 22953 - Fax: 025 23455 - jenita@scfsl.childalliance.org

********************************************************************

Support for boycott if visas not provided - Priscilla Alexander

I agree with the anonymous writer who suggested boycotting the conference if visas are not immediately provided to all people planning to attend the conference from developing countries.

Priscilla Alexander, North American Task Force on Prostitution
2785 Broadway, 4L - New York, NY 10025-2834 - USA
Phone: +1-212-866-8854 - Cell Phone: +1-917-673-9948 - e-mail: pjalexander@frostd.cc; prisjalex@earthlink.net

 


Press release issued by: Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
June 25, 2002

Participants of the VIV International AIDS Conference still encountering problems:
Is the conference programme being weakened due to visa issues?

According to the Stuart Flavell, International Coordinator of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+), a community coorganiser of the XIV International AIDS Conference, "the Conference programme could be decimated unless some assurance is made on the part of the Spanish government that all visas for delegates will be granted in time."

Despite an electronic statement, diffused to various interested parties, from the office of the Secretary of the National Plan on AIDS of the Spanish Ministry of Sanitation and Consumption asserting that "all those included in the lists sent by Congrex, Conference Secretariat, or Community Department are not facing problems regarding their visas", irregularities have occurred.

After the Spanish NGO community, represented by Red2002, brought to the fore the problems participants had encountered in obtaining visas, a GNP+ member and delegate from Colombia, who had been initially told he would have to wait six months to receive a visa, was given 17 hour notice to fly from a provincial capital to attend an early morning meeting at the Spanish Consulate in Bogotá. At that meeting, he was told that he could obtain a visa on the condition that he bought health insurance, despite his having an official letter from GNP+ guaranteeing his health care coverage during the Conference.

In another case, a GNP+ delegate from Kenya, was asked for evidence of coverage of his medical expenses at the Conference as well as evidence that he has personal resources sufficient to cover per diem expenses while in Barcelona, and again, despite his bearing an official letter assuring that GNP+ would be responsible for his medical care and daily expenditures GNP+ there.

These two delegates from GNP+ are a track rapporteur and a presenter in the senior lecture series, respectively. Without them, the Conference Programme would suffer. Their ability to come to Barcelona is due to their sheer tenacity and resourcefulness. How many participants, speakers and presenters from developing countries are in the same type of situation or worse?

The government of Spain, in assuming the role of host and sponsor of scholarships for this event, made a commitment to the Conference, its participants, and more broadly, to the persons affected by HIV and AIDS throughout the world. For the average delegate, the failure of Spain,s diplomatic stations to provide the visas necessary for persons to enter Spain in a timely and consistent fashion can only be interpreted as a breach of that commitment. In not keeping its word, the Spanish government is jeopardizing the Conference and causing all those involved to fail to meet their responsibilities to others living with HIV and AIDS. On moral and practical grounds, this is a position we cannot tolerate. Governments must not be obstacles in the global movement to end the pandemic.

The government of Spain must keep its word and act immediately to ensure that each of its diplomatic stations accords Conference participants the right to enter Spain without barriers. "This Conference must go through as planned. It provides so much hope and knowledge for the world,s fight on AIDS, a fight that has never been so urgent.", stated Mr. Flavell

Press release issued by:
Jennifer M. Bushee, Communications Officer
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
P.O. Box 11726 - 1001 GS Amsterdam - The Netherlands - Telephone: +31.(0)20.423.4114 - Fax: +31.(0)20.423.4224
Web site:
www.gnpplus.net - E-mail: news@gnpplus.net

 



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