UN: UNAIDS appeals for tolerance, dignity for all

PANA Press

27/02/2014

New York, US (PANA)  – Ahead of “Zero Discrimination Day” to be marked on 1 March worldwide, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Thursday called for the promotion and celebration of everyone’s right to a full life with dignity no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love.

 Mr. Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director, made the call in Beijing as the agency kicked off activities to mark the day.

 He stressed the need for tolerance, unity and compassion, noting that “the AIDS response itself has taught the world tremendous lessons in tolerance and compassion”.

 “We know that both the right to health and the right to dignity belong to everyone,” a statement issued in New York quoted Mr. Sidibe as telling participants at the event, which wrapped up with more than 30 business leaders signing a pledge to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.

 He said: “Working together, we can transform ourselves, our communities and our world to reach zero discrimination”.

 He also noted that many international celebrities had joined the call for zero discrimination, recording video messages and taking photographs with the butterfly sign, the symbol for the day.

 The personalities include UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Annie Lennox, international football star David Luiz, actress and activist Michelle Yeoh and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

 He added that the private sector was also playing an important part in commemorating Zero Discrimination Day in South Africa, where as part of a longstanding partnership with UNAIDS, Standard Bank was conducting a social media drive around the day.

 In addition, Mr. Sidibe said the almost 3.5 million subscribers of Airtel, the largest mobile telephone service provider in Malawi, would receive a message promoting “zero discrimination” on 1 March.