Bangkok AIDS Conference


12 July 2004   Demonstration Against World Leaders

For years wealthy country governments have refused to pay the billions needed to fund the fight against AIDS. At the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001, countries agreed to pay $10 billion annually. Because donors will not meet that funding target, funding requirements have leapt to $12 billion per year, expanding to $20 billion by 2007, according to UNAIDS.

The U.S., the richest country in the world, has refused to pay its fair share. By 2008, the U.S. should have paid $30 billion total. The Bush Administration has proposed spending only half that.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global fund) is unable to launch new funding rounds because donors have refused to give the money needed to do more than renew funding for existing grants. The Bush Administration plans to slash its Global Fund contribution by 64%, to $200 million in 2005 -- but their fair share is at least $1.2 billion.

Donors excuse their own inaction with lies.
For example:

"Absorptive capacity"    Donors claim that poor countries do not have the capacity to spend money, so funding should go slowly, ramping up over time, while capacity is slowly built. AIDS is an emergency; the correct response to bottlenecks restricting rapid expenditure of funding is not slowing down, but addressing the bottlenecks so the countries can spend money. And existing country capacity is still unfunded: UNAIDS funding estimates are only for the cost of funding existing capacity building and expanding country infrastructure will cost billions more.

"Results"    Donors say they want results from country programs before they commit to ramping up funding. But it is impossible to show results without significant funding commitments.

The Cost of Doing Nothing    Unless donors keep their funding promises, there will be 100 million infection by 2010. People living with HIV reject the lies donors use to justify their broken promises.


AIDS activists throw red paint on a poster of President Bush and other G7 Leaders

Bangkok - Several dozen protestors stormed the global AIDS summit on Monday and threw mock blood over posters of world leaders in protest over a shortfall in funding to tackle the epidemic.

The protesters held a mock trial of the heads of the industrialised nations in the foyer of a conference centre in the Thai capital where some 17 000 delegates have gathered to discuss the Aids crisis and latest medical research.

A young South African Aids activist shouted out a list of charges against leaders such as US President George W Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japan's Junichiro Koizumi, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Canada's Paul Martin (along with German Gerhard Schroeder).

Demonstrators shouted "shame" and defaced the large portraits of the leaders with wanted banners and red paint saying they had reneged on promises to contribute $10bn to the fight.

"The countries ... collectively share responsibility for the needless deaths of countless thousands because of their inaction," one of the protest organisers, Kamon Uppakaew, told reporters during the demonstration at the 15th International Aids Conference.

Thai security guards kept a low profile during the protest and a handful of delegates heckled the demonstrators, accusing them of ignoring the role of governments of some poorer nations who have refused to acknowledge the full scale of the Aids crisis.

Almost 3 500 Thai police have been assigned to provide security for the global Aids summit attended by the delegates including high-profile politicians and celebrities.

(Bangkok) – Activists from around the world joined their Thai counterparts today putting leaders of the G-7 nations “on trial” for their lack of support for the Global Fund. The group displayed oversized portraits of the heads of state and listed the charges against the seven. Members of the groups served as the jury, finding all seven guilty of failure to live up to their countries’ commitments to provide $10 billion a year to the Fund.

“The countries of the G-7 collectively share responsibility for the needless deaths of countless thousands because of their inaction,” said Kamon Uppakaew, chair of the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+). “The people of the world, especially those living with HIV/AIDS will not accept the lies and excuses put forth by the rich nations. Therefore, we have found the leaders of those countries guilty of mass murder and issued citizen warrants for their immediate arrest.”

According to the Bangkok 2004 UNAIDS report, $12 billion (US) is needed annually by 2004 to effectively fund the fight against AIDS. However, the combined spending among all countries, rich and poor, is a meager $4.7 billion annually.

President George Bush of the United States was charged and convicted just a day after his opponent in the 2004 United States presidential election, John Kerry, announced his support for providing $30 billion in funding for the fight against AIDS by 2008. This includes a significant increase in current funding levels to the Global Fund.

“No government bears a greater responsibility to providing dollars to the Global Fund than United States,” said Sharonann Lynch of U.S.-based Health GAP (Global Access Project). “What we have seen today is people from all over the world recognized that the United States and her economic allies have lied to people who are living with HIV/AIDS. The leaders of these countries committed in 2001 to funding the Global Fund. Their criminal actions have resulted in their convictions.”

The G-7 group of industrialized nations and the leaders convicted by people living with HIV/AIDS are:

United States – George Bush
Great Britain – Tony Blair
France – Jacques Chirac
Italy - Silvio Berlusconi
Japan - Junichiro Koizumi
Germany - Gerhard Schroeder
Canada – Paul Martin

Global AIDS Fight : who should be paying how much ?   

On June 27 2001 at the United Nations, all countries committed themselves to a global funding target of 10 billion dollars per year.

SEE LIST of countries who should be the main achievers of this target, and most responsible for the current funding crisis.      

 from ACT UP Paris (english )    

'U.S. should be giving double to AIDS crisis'

Demonstrators daubed fake blood on to posters of key world leaders who they blamed for reneging on promises to put $10-billion (about R60-billion) every year into a global fund to tackle the crisis.

'Our approach is gradual' "The world stands now at a point of the launch of massive scale-up" of prevention and treatment of HIV/Aids, but "it will be extremely expensive", said Richard Feachem, the director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, at the 15th International Aids Conference.

The United States says it is by far the largest contributor to the fight against the disease with American President George Bush having pledged $15-billion over the next five years.

But US professor and legal expert on HIV/Aids Brook Baker, of the North- eastern University School of Law, told the forum the US' fair share should be double that.

The United Nations has estimated $20-billion will be needed annually by 2007 because of the growing threat from the epidemic.

The United Nations warned that a general lack of political and financial support for global condom programmes was undermining efforts to slow the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a little-known US group headed by an advisor to Bush attacked copycat drugs makers accusing them of exaggerating claims about the costs, safety and effectiveness of their products.

The broadside, aimed at the role of cheap "generic" drugs that are now playing a central role in the Aids war, was delivered in a full-page advertisement in the Bangkok Post daily as the Aids conference began its first day of work.

Generic drugs manufacturers copy patented anti-retroviral treatments and sell them at prices below those set by the wealthy pharmaceutical giants.

Also short of funds is the agonising quest for an HIV vaccine, which needs a near-doubling of money, to $1.2-billion a year, if it is ever to meet its goal, the conference was told.

Seth Berkley, president of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) spearheading the search, said: "The world is inching toward a vaccine, when we should be making strides.

"The single biggest obstacle is that vaccine development is not a top scientific, political and economic priority."

Another key conference theme is getting more generic copies of the main
AIDS drugs to the developing world.

The Belgium-based Medecins Sans Frontieres group warned that free trade
agreements such as the one Thailand is negotiating with the United States
could threaten that goal by imposing patent rules that block production of
those copies.  

        see more information on  U.S. Blocking Generics

under construction  |  more information pending


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