February 02, 2016
Maori UN role for Maori HIV activist
A Maori AIDs and HIV activist has been elected co-chair of a major United Nations forum on the issue.
Marama Pala will share with th Javier Hourcade Bellocq from Argentina the responsibility for chairing the Civil Society Task Force for the High-Level Meeting on HIV to be held during the General Assembly session in New York in June.
It's the first High Level Meeting since 2011, and Rawiri Evans, the chair of the Maori, indigenous and South Pacific HIV/AIDs Foundation INA says indigenous activists hope the United Nations and member states will renew and build on previous commitments.
He says Ms Pala, who was the first Maori woman to disclose her HIV status publicly, has been a powerful activist for Maori, Indigenous, and marginalized communities for more than 20 years.
Ms Pala says with people now talking about the end of AIDS being on the horizon, indigenous peoples need to be stronger and more united than ever to keep HIV on the agenda, and keeping marginalized communities in the forefront.
She says HIV hasn’t gone away and the real work continues for those in the communities.
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