Russia Failed to Amend UN Declarations on HIV/AIDS

2 weeks ago
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Moscow representatives said the document intrudes into the sphere of national legislation.

The UN General Assembly adopted a declaration aimed at eradicating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 after Russia failed to remove language it said encouraged countries to decriminalize prostitution and drug use.

The assembly overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s last-minute attempt to amend the 18-page declaration.

Of the 193 members, 165 voted in favor of adopting the non-binding declaration. Four members voted against it. It is the fifth such document on AIDS in the last 20 years.

Russia said that under the guise of anti-discrimination, several clauses in the resolution attempt to directly interfere with national legislation through the repeal of so-called restrictive and discriminatory laws.

Dmitry Chumakov, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS considers these to include laws that in any way target prostitution and drug use.

Australian Ambassador to the UN Mitch Fifield, who led negotiations on the declaration, spoke out against Russia, saying that “reforming laws and policies so that they are evidence-based and human rights-based is essential to an effective response to HIV.”