Mandate of HIV and AIDS activities in UNAMID
The establishment of HIV and AIDS units in peacekeeping missions was based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1308 (2000). This landmark resolution made it possible for peacekeeping missions to start addressing HIV and AIDS concerns. Resolution 1308 recognized the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS on all sectors of life and also stressed that if not checked, HIV may pose a threat to stability and security. The fact that HIV is also exacerbated by conditions of violence and instability increase the risk of exposure to the disease through large movements of people, widespread uncertainty over conditions, and reduced access to medical care. The UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS of 27 June 2001 concretized the need for joint efforts in addressing HIV and also helped in ensuring that all major players including UN member states are fully committed to the cause of HIV and AIDS.
|Efforts to address HIV/AIDS in Darfur: Case studies
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In June 2011, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1983 urging for the incorporation of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, including voluntary confidential counseling and testing programmes in peacekeeping operations, including assistance to national institutions, security sector reform and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) processes. The resolution recognized the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ contribution and incorporation of HIV awareness in mandates, activities and outreach projects for vulnerable communities and also highlighted the importance of UN Mission leadership in supporting HIV and AIDS matters in peacekeeping environments.
In response to the resolution, UNAMID HIV and AIDS Unit scaled up interventions targeting affected, infected and vulnerable groups of people in Darfur. The two Security Council resolutions 1983 and 1308 are complimentary, however 1308 focused more on addressing HIV and AIDS concerns among peacekeepers, and 1983 broadened the focus to include vulnerable and high risk groups as beneficiaries of HIV and AIDS services of peacekeeping operations.
Mission Statement of the HIV and AIDS Unit
The HIV and AIDS Unit exists to provide HIV prevention services to UNAMID's personnel and vulnerable groups in communities, as well as to strengthen the capacity of the Sudan National AIDS Program and other AIDS support organizations to better respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Darfur.
Its vision-mission is in line with the goal of the UN to have “zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.”
Strategic Goals of the HIV and AIDS Unit
Strategic Goal #1: To strengthen the capacity of HIV and AIDS collaborating partners in Darfur.
Objective 1.1: To enhance the managerial, technical and operational capacity of Sudan National AIDS Program, so that it is able to coordinate HIV and AIDS service delivery effectively and efficiently in Darfur.
Objective 1.2: To provide technical assistance to AIDS support organizations so that they can become more robust.
Strategic Goal #2: To reduce the risk of contracting and spreading HIV and AIDS among peacekeepers and vulnerable groups in Darfur.
Objective 2.1: To provide HIV Prevention services to 100 percent UNAMID personnel so as to enhance HIV and AIDS risk-reduction behavior.
Objective 2.2: To reach out to all local community vulnerable groups so that they have greater access to HIV and AIDS services.
1. UNAMID has trained over 2,000 members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on HIV and AIDS. The training sessions reveal deep seated myths and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS among participants many of whom have admitted that the sessions provided them with the first ever and rare opportunity to openly discuss matters of HIV and AIDS. The Commanders of the SAF have been cooperating well with UNAMID and have expressed willingness to continue working with the Mission to reach out to all their members.
2. Significant progress has also been made in training of the Sudanese police forces and members of other rule of law institutions such as prisons, Central Intelligence, customs, emergency and judicial police. Over 1,500 police officers from all the Darfur states have been trained. Two main strategies have been used in reaching out to police officers. In most cases, HIV sessions are being implemented as part of joint collaborative interventions with other UNAMID sections such as Rule of Law Prisons Advisory Unit and Human Rights.
3. Over 2,500 demobilized combatants in Darfur have benefited from HIV and AIDS interventions of the mission. In collaboration with the Sudan DDR commission, UNAMID has managed to provide HIV awareness and briefing sessions to combatants during DDR exercises. Demobilized combatants have also been linked with the Sudan National AIDS Program in Darfur to ensure continuity of access to services related to HIV and AIDS. Appropriate referral has also been made for demobilized combatants who have been found to require further management and care services.
4. UNAMID has developed joint projects with members of the UN Country Team such as UN Women and UNFPA. With UN Women, UNAMID is currently implementing a project reaching out to university students with special focus on female students. The project aims at enhancing positive behavior change and addressing myths and misconceptions among this group of young people. With UNFPA, UNAMID is working on training of health workers in the areas of HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis and effective management of survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
5. Training of High level Government Officials. Between May and August 2012, the unit has trained over 180 peer educators selected from Government of Sudan Military, Police, Ministry of Health, Sudan National AIDS Program, National Security, Military Intelligence and Local community leaders as well as representatives of associations of people living with HIV and internally displaced persons. These workshops have been critical in raising the HIV and AIDS profile among senior and key Government officials and the result has been a general improvement in support for interventions addressing HIV at various levels.
6. In UNAMID, the HIV and AIDS Unit is providing services to peacekeepers (civilian, police and military) in all sectors as follows:
- HIV Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing
- Facilitation of access to HIV prevention materials like condoms and Post Exposure Prophylaxis
- HIV and AIDS trainings including awareness-raising, induction, peer education and voluntary confidential counseling and testing
- Establishment a Mission-wide network of HIV and AIDS focal points
- Advocacy and dissemination of information, education and communication materials on HIV and AIDS