About 200 ILO officials and representatives of organizations involved in the AIDS response participated in ILO’s activities to commemorate World AIDS Day and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (ILO/AIDS) at ILO Headquarters in Geneva.
ILO officials were invited to dress in red and to form a human red ribbon in solidarity with people living with HIV. They released 200 red balloons in a count down to zero discrimination in the workplace.
Mrs. Manuela Tomei, Director of the Labour Protection Department reminded the participants of the estimated 34 million people living with HIV worldwide and of the challenges created by the financial crisis.
Mr. Assane Diop, Executive Director for the Social Protection Sector, highlighted that ten years ago the ILO launched its Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (ILO/AIDS). Two valuable tools have been developed to guide global action: the 2001 ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work and the first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work (Recommendation No. 200) in 2010. He also said that the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) last June gives further worldwide recognition to the standard.
UN Plus and UN Cares representatives, Mr. Yoshiyuki Oshima and Mr. Xavier Orrellana highlighted the challenges faced by UN officials living with the virus. Mr. Julian Hows from the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) shared similar experiences of people living with HIV worldwide who faced obstacles to access employment, including himself a few years ago.
The messages were followed by a concert with Karra Sylla Ka Acoustic from Senegal who sang a special song written for the day entitled “Sida ak boulot” meaning “AIDS and work” in Wolof.
Participants shared the ILO/AIDS 10th anniversary cake after the official cutting by Mr. Diop who played a key role in the creation of ILO/AIDS, Mrs. Tomei and Mrs. Alice Ouedraogou, Director of ILO/AIDS.