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Sergio Lopez’s speech at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Sergio Lopez’s speech at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

access_timeJune 10, 2016 01:42 pm

"My name is Sergio López, I’m 23 years old and I’m a proud activist of SOMOSGAY and the GayLatino Network.

In Latin America and where I come from, Paraguay, we like to speak openly about issues concerning oppression and violence. While Paraguay remains as one of the most homophobic countries in the world, our Guarani ancestors have always idealized the Yvy Marane’y, translated into “a paradise on Earth”, a land in which all people can live free and equal. Sadly, we know this is not true today.

 

Throughout the entire process of this High Level Meeting, which started months ago, activists and communities from civil society have been fed the slogan of “leave no one behind”, and yet, we’ve seen how some of our most basic human rights, as our right to identity, health, freedom and equality, have been violated yesterday by approving a policy document that keep many gay men, transgender women and other key populations criminalized and marginalised around the world.

 

While acknowledging the advances made in some issues, this Political Declaration -far from being an ideal one- still lacks an euphemism-free language that guarantees human rights for everyone.

 

Communities in LAC are deeply concerned, also, about the fact that funding and the overall financing of the HIV response remains as an elephant in the room. With enough evidence up to this date, we know precisely where the money is in our countries, and it’s important to remind ourselves that the many other issues discussed in the Political Declaration will just not be achievable without accurate funding to support the work we’re doing at the global and local level.

 

 

In 2016, all the evidence suggests that, if what we want is to build is a solid response that really has ending the epidemic in its core, we need to invest in accountability, transparency and, of course, advocacy for communities and civil society.

 

In such high level spaces, where we talk a lot about participation, we also need to discuss power dynamics. As a young gay latino, I would like to call on everyone for commitments to ensure that colonialism and other forms of silence and oppression are not replicated among us on “the right side”. This is crucial to leave no one behind, because to keep us quiet is also a form of oppression.

 

I have a three questions for the people in the room: How many of us are proud with the outcome of this High Level Meeting? How many of us are happy that key populations are again left behind? And how many will sleep while the rest of us die?

 

We have enough evidence to change our situation, and certainly need more political commitments and will. We need the global solidarity, in this humanitarian response to HIV, to leave no one behind -for real.

 

If we learned something from the 20th century, is that when the world reaches a state of extreme inequality, minorities and affected communities are the ones who most suffer the costs of discrimination and exclusion.

 

It’s been long said this is about our lives. Today, more than ever, we must act up, fight back, and fight AIDS.

 

Muchas gracias. Thank you."

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Simón Cazal

Co-Fundador y Director Ejecutivo, SOMOSGAY