Fact sheet no. 4 Hiv/aids and peacekeeping

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Recognising that the HIV epidemic is exacerbated by conditions of violence and instability and concerned with the potential damaging impact of HIV/AIDS on the health of international peacekeeping personnel, including support personnel, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1308 in July 2000 to respond to HIV/AIDS in the context of peacekeeping operations.

UN Security Council Resolution 1308 encourages Member States to consider developing, in cooperation with the international community and UNAIDS, where appropriate, effective long-term strategies for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, voluntary and confidential testing and counselling, and treatment of their personnel, as an important part of their preparation for their participation in peacekeeping operations.

In follow-up to this Resolution, the UNAIDS Secretariat initiated a Cooperation Framework with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in January 2001 with the overall objective of integrating a comprehensive HIV/AIDS policy within DPKO. The framework targets not only peacekeeping personnel but all persons affected by the missions, including humanitarian workers and host populations, with the ultimate objective of making peacekeepers advocates for AIDS awareness, wherever they are mobilized.

(July 2002) World Map on HIV epidemic and UN peacekeeping missions

Awareness Training. As part of its global awareness strategy for uniformed services, the UNAIDS Secretariat has designed and produced, together with DPKO, an “HIV/AIDS Awareness Card for Peacekeeping Operations” as a practical training tool for peacekeeping personnel. This plastic card contains an inner condom pocket, outlining the basic facts about HIV/AIDS and the relevant codes of conduct to be respected by peacekeeping personnel. The HIV/AIDS Awareness Card has been produced in ten languages — English, French, Urdu, Russian, Kiswahili, Bengali, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Hindi — covering all major nationalities serving in peacekeeping operations world-wide. After having been officially introduced at the Security Council in June 2001, the Awareness Cards were distributed and tested in UNAMSIL (UN Mission in Sierra Leone). The Awareness Cards are currently being distributed in all major UN peacekeeping operations including UNMEE (UN Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea), where a baseline study is being undertaken to monitor the impact of the card and the general AIDS awareness training among peacekeepers.
Integrated Gender Approach. In response to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the impact of armed conflict on women, adopted in October 2000, UNAIDS and UNIFEM have been collaborating to strengthen an integrated gender approach and AIDS awareness training for uniformed services, including international peacekeepers.
HIV/AIDS Policy Officers.

Through the initiative and support of UNAIDS, DPKO is posting HIV/AIDS Policy Officers to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in all major UN peacekeeping operation. The main objective of establishing this post is to develop a coordinated HIV/AIDS policy for each mission and facilitate the development and implementation of a comprehensive AIDS programme for each mission.

IRIN / AllAfrica.com 04 June 2002

UN Peacekeepers Providing HIV/AIDS Awareness Training
The UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has taken the lead in providing training on how to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic sweeping Africa. It has trained troops from both countries, as well as its own peacekeepers, to instruct fellow soldiers and civilians on how to combat the virus and prevent its spread.

The head of mission, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, said UNMEE was fighting a war against the virus. “We are responding to the global war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic by undertaking this training of trainers course,” he said, in a speech to troops from the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF). “As in any war that is being fought with the objective of winning and/or neutralising the enemy, knowledge about its capabilities, resources, tactics and limitations, become critically important.”

The troops, who have graduated from the training scheme, will use their skills to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and introduce protection programmes. They have been given literature to help educate their communities when they return home.

Legwaila said fighting the virus was akin to peacekeeping – to save lives and stop destruction. “The general concept of peacekeeping operations places a premium on the cessation of hostilities, separation of forces and consequently, the prevention of destruction.”

“This UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea will have, by the end of its mandate, set new standards for all UN peacekeeping operations, and new examples of cooperative work between belligerents that have committed themselves to peace.” Legwaila added.

HIV/AIDS Trust Fund.

Through contributions raised by UNAIDS, DPKO has created an HIV/AIDS Trust Fund in order to integrate a comprehensive HIV/AIDS policy and programme within each and every UN Peacekeeping mission.

HIV Testing for UN Peacekeepers.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS organized an Expert Panel on HIV Testing in UN Peacekeeping Operations in Bangkok on 28-30 November 2001 which resulted in a report reviewing the HIV testing policy for UN peacekeeping personnel. The report from the Expert Panel highlights the UN’s current policy of encouraging Voluntary and Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT) as opposed to mandatory HIV testing.

In response to the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 27 June 2001, the UNAIDS Initiative on HIV/AIDS and Security addresses ways to strengthen HIV/AIDS awareness in peacekeeping operations.

By 2003, ensure the inclusion of HIV/AIDS awareness and training, including a gender component, into guidelines designed for use by defence personnel and other personnel involved in international peacekeeping operations while also continuing with ongoing education and prevention efforts, including pre-deployment orientation, for these personnel.”
UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, 27 June 2001

UNAIDS Humanitarian Unit

UN Nordic Office, P.O. Box 2530, 3 Midtermolen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Tel: 45 35 46 71 43 Fax: 45 35 46 71 41 Email: jelena.vladicic@unaids.dk

July 2002

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