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Jun 9, 2006

U.N. officials establish HIV support network in Belize

Story PictureToday, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition met with their counterparts in Belize to establish a support network for persons infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. According to Laison officer of the United Nations Population Fund Jewel Quallo Rosberg, the community based initiative is a welcomed effort.

Jewel Quallo Rosberg, U.N.F.P.A., Laison officer, Belize
?The whole idea is to give a voice to these groups, which we felt was a gap, so that they can speak out in defence of themselves and using a human rights based approach. The question then is, what are the rights of individuals regardless of the group that they find themselves in? And the extent to which those groups need to be handled or addressed, or have concerns and issues, and also the need for support services.?

Dr. Robert Carr, Co?Chair, C.V.C.
?One very important thing that has been achieved is that groups have begun to realize that they are not alone. They begun to realize that they are partners working on similar issues at the national level and also begun to realize that they are groups working at the regional level. For example, if we take the instance of inner-city youth, they are groups working at the community level with inner-city youth throughout the Caribbean. French, Dutch, Spanish, English and Creole speaking but very often they work in isolation, so they have to reinvent the wheel every time. There is no documentation and there is no opportunity to share information, so what this project does is it allows groups like that to learn about each other and to share and to strengthen their own programming at home base on the dialogue and the conversations they are able to have with others around the Caribbean who are doing similar work.?

?What this coalition is able to do is to put on the table that there are some groups whom society feels it?s appropriate to discriminate against or whom society feels is acceptable to discriminate against and very often people working with these groups are fragmented. They don?t realize that they share a common struggle that they are in fact working with groups who are marginalized from the society. One of the more powerful things that we are able to do at the national level, is to put on the table, listen we are struggling with a serious dynamic here, and how can we learn form each other and support each other.?

Today’s session was funded by United Nations Population Fund.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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