Action Aid International USA, Africa Action, 50 Years is Enough Network, Global AIDS Alliance, Global Justice, Jubilee USA Network, Nicaragua Network, Religious Working Group on the IMF/World Bank, Student Global AIDS Campaign, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 1, 2004
2:32 PM
CONTACT: Action Aid International USA, Africa Action, 50 Years is Enough Network, Global AIDS Alliance, Global Justice, Jubilee USA Network, Nicaragua Network, Religious Working Group on the IMF/World Bank, Student Global AIDS Campaign, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society 
Ann-Louise Colgan/Marie Clarke, Africa Action, 202-546 7961
Neil Watkins, Jubilee USA, 202-783-0129
 
Activists Hold Rally & Die-In at IMF/World Bank to Mark World AIDS Day; Groups Call for Debt Cancellation, Highlight Disproportionate Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women & Girls
 

WASHINGTON -- December 1 -- A range of global justice, faith-based, and AIDS advocacy organizations today marked World AIDS Day at noon by co-sponsoring a major rally & die-in outside the World Bank and IMF to condemn policies that undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS for women and girls globally. Participants called for full debt cancellation for all impoverished nations and an end to budget austerity measures that hinder the ability of poor countries to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

At the rally, Marie Clarke Brill of Africa Action said, “Increasingly, in Africa and around the world, AIDS has a woman’s face. If we are to turn the tide of this pandemic, we need to promote strategies that will address the gender inequalities that leave women most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Instead, the policies of the World Bank and IMF continue to undermine women’s health globally.”

Jakeya Caruthers of Jubilee USA Network said, “While impoverished countries struggle to cope with the HIV/AIDS crisis, the World Bank and IMF continue to insist that they prioritize debt repayments over spending on HIV/AIDS programs and health care. The policies imposed by these institutions cripple the ability of African countries to respond to HIV/AIDS. We demand that they drop the debt NOW to fight HIV/AIDS!”

At the noon rally, dozens of women and girls dressed in red created a human chain in the form of a women’s symbol to dramatize the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls globally. Latest United Nations figures reveal that the number of women living with HIV/AIDS continues to
increase in every region of the world. In Africa, almost 60% of those
living with HIV/AIDS are women.

Emira Woods from Foreign Policy in Focus said today, “We gather here on World AIDS Day outside two of the most powerful financial institutions in the world to call on them to do the right thing and put an end to policies that block progress on the fight against HIV/AIDS for women and girls. While women bear the brunt of this disease, their vulnerability is increased still further by the harmful policies of these institutions.”

Njoki Njehu from 50 Years Is Enough Network added, “Women and girls are hardest hit by HIV/AIDS globally, but the budget austerity policies imposed by the IMF continue to undermine efforts to address the impact of this health crisis on women. If the World Bank and IMF are serious about defeating this pandemic and promoting women’s rights, they must cancel the debt and end budget austerity policies deepen poverty that perpetuate gender inequality.”

Today’s rally and die-in brought activists from around the Washington, DC area to speak out and raise awareness of the structural impediments to the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially for women and girls. The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day focuses on the disproportionate impact of this pandemic among women and girls globally.

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