UN Plus meets UN Secretary General
22 May 2007
As part of the 61 st session of the General Assembly, UNPlus– the UN system-wide group of staff living with HIV– met with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to brief him on the key achievements of the group since its inception in March 2005 and to discuss the opportunities and challenges that UN positive staff face at work.
During the meeting, a delegation of UNPlus members presented the Secretary-General with specialized position papers covering four main issues of concern: stigma and discrimination, confidentiality, medical insurance, and travel restrictions and mobility. The group also made specific requests to the action items outlined in the papers. The meeting also served to evaluate the progress made on the concerned issues and discuss the way forward to improve the workplace environment for all people living with HIV working within the UN system.
“Our requests to the Secretary-General mainly focus on the need to revise the personnel policy and to institute strong administrative procedures to curtail stigma,” said Bhatupe Mhango, UN plus coordinator. “Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ’s support to UNPlus is critical. We hope he will continue to raise the issues of positive people far and wide-both within the UN system and in his external engagements,” she added.
Twenty-five years into the pandemic, HIV is a reality for workplaces across the world. With approximately 193 member states and an almost equal number of country offices worldwide, the United Nations workforce is no exception.
Addressing the issue within the United Nations, UNPlus was initiated in March 2005 by a group of UN staff members living with HIV, with the support of the UNAIDS secretariat, to create a more enabling environment of all HIV-positive staff members, irrespective of the level of disclosure of their HIV status. UNPlus aims to create an organized and effective voice for people living with HIV within the United Nations system that challenges stigma and discrimination, and contributes to the development of and improvement of existing policies on HIV among United Nations agencies.
“UNPlus is remarkable in the sense that in essence it is UN Reform in action. It brings together people from different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, professions, salary grades, around a common issue. The common issue is ensuring equality, solidarity and acceptance for people living with HIV,” said Mhango.
The first global meeting of UNPlus took place in Amsterdam in March 2006. The meeting was attended by more than 30 people living with HIV working in 11 UN organizations around the world and saw the development of the UN Plus position papers.
Coinciding with the meeting with the UN Secretary-General, UNPlus officially launched its website: http://www.unplus.org/ . The website provides staff members, UN agencies and other external partners with important information concerning HIV in the workplace. It also promotes positive living and highlights the challenges and successes of people living with HIV from around the world. To mark the launch, the web site features an exclusive interview with the UNAIDS Executive Director on the exceptionality of AIDS.
View Photo Gallery
Listen to interview with Bhatupe Mhango, UNplus Global Coordinator
Visit UNplus website
Read UNplus Position Papers
View exclusive interview with UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot
Read UN Secretary-General's impressions after meeting UNplus members