Statements and Webcast
Internationa Labour Organization
H.E. Dr. Sophia Kisting-Cairncross, Director
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
SOPHIA KISTING-CAIRNCROSS, Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work, said that HIV-related stigma and discrimination fuelled the spread of the virus and led to human rights violations. Outlining considerable strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, such as the number of people receiving treatment — 6.6 million — and legislation on non-discrimination in many Member States, she noted that the voluntary ILO Code of Practice launched in 2001 informed workplace policies on HIV and AIDS throughout the globe. However, because stigma and discrimination resulted, not only in the loss of jobs, but also loss of lives, the tripartite constituency of the ILO had embarked on a standard-setting process, resulting in recommendations. Key among the principles of those recommendations was that the response to HIV and AIDS should be recognized as contributing to the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and general equality for all, including workers, their families and their dependants.
She said that stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV status remained pervasive. Implementation of workplace policies, leading to much-needed universal access for people with HIV, reduced work absenteeism, increased treatment adherence, enhanced sustainable employment and provided access to social protection. However, for millions of small and medium-sized enterprises, where the majority of new jobs were created, it often was not possible to sustain a participatory policy environment for universal access, without outside support. In that context, public-private partnerships had shown great promise. Additional concerns included people at risk in such sectors as mining, tourism, transport, education and health; the occupational safety of health workers exposed to HIV and tuberculosis; and unemployment, particularly among young people.