H.E. PAUL KAGAME
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA
AT THE TWENTY-SEVENTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS
NEW YORK, 25 JUNE 2001
President of the General Assembly; Your Excellency Secretary General; Ladies and Gentlemen;
Let me thank Secretary General Kofi Annan, for convening
this Special Session on HIV /AIDS, and for his efforts in mobilising resources
the Global AIDS and Health Fund.
As we all recognise, HIV/AIDS is a threat to social and economic development as well as to global security, as underscored by the United Nations Security Council, among others. Hence this Special Session that follows other important gatherings on HIV/AIDS.
In Africa, the Addis Ababa Summit emphasized the role of leadership at all levels of society in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Abuja Summit focussed on sustainable resource-mobilisation and concrete actions to contain the HIV/AIDS pandeniic.
African women have undertaken important initiatives in this regard.
For example, in May this year, the African First
Ladies Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, emphasized
the urgent need to pay special attention to the most vulnerable groups on our continent: children, youth and women.
We must harness the experience and wisdom gained
from these sessions in
our battle against the HIV/AIDS scourge.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me now briefly share with you the experience of my country. Rwanda is among the 14 Sub-Saharan African countries most seriously affected by HIV/AIDS.
It is currently estimated that some 400,000 Rwandans out of a total population of 8 million are infected.
In our case, one of the contributing factors was the 1994 Genocide, in which untold numbers of women and young girls were systematically raped. The impact by this episode of our history has not yet been fully grasped. The massive internal and external dislocation and movements of millions of people during this period also contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Despite these challenges, we have undertaken a number of initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS in my country, including the following:
Ladies and Gentlemen
HIV/AIDS can be tamed and eventually defeated.
The immediate goal in this quest is a focussed global
strategy that is realistic, practical, and effective, particularly in regard
to resource-mobilisation, and management. Prevention programs, among other things, should become central in the unfolding strategy.
It is imperative that accountability and transparency become the hallmark of this strategy in its implementation.
I thank you