Worlds AIDS Day at COP18 in Doha, Qatar

Dear IFMSA Family,

World AIDS day was on this past Saturday December 1st and we were more than happy to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS at COP18 this year. We had completed an action, which was targeting the impacts that discrimination has on HIV positive individuals. Some of the particular discrimination’s that were addressed within our action pertained to being denied human rights and services, such as: access to housing, service at commercial retailers, expulsion from educational institutions, termination or refusal of employment, consensual sex between men, poor treatment in healthcare settings, access to facilities, lack of confidentiality in healthcare settings, medicine in resource-poor areas with limited or no drugs, social isolation and ridicule, restrictions on travel, stay and deportation.

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We had participants from Medsin UK, Healthy Planet UK, South African Youth Climate Collation and YOUNGO to help deliver our action and we are extremely happy that other organizations came out to support our message. Additionally, we got support from other organizations we as a delegation feel as though our message of discrimination against HIV/AIDS was effectively and clearly delivered. For a brief overview, our skit included one HIV positive person, that was actually played by myself and then there was a chain formed of the different forms of “discriminators” by holding hands. The discriminators also had had their backs faced to the HIV positive individual to further indicate and portray the discrimination that HIV positive individuals face with society. Either the viewers or our supporters tried to break the chain of discrimination and free the HIV positive individual from the discrimination. Moreover, as we presented our action, many viewers stopped to take photos and make videos of our action.

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Not only was it world AIDS day this past Saturday but it was also a monumental day in Doha seeing that it was the first civil environmental march. Approximately 800 hundred civilians took the streets of Doha that morning. Within the 800 marchers there were about 100 young activists from the Arab youth climate movement that were calling the Arab leaders to take a lead in the negotiations. The initiation of this movement was a collective collaboration between several different organizations such as: 350.org, Climate Action Network, IndyAct, and the Global Climate Change.

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In the evening there was an NGO party, which was hosted at a hotel resort. The hotel had a beachfront and that they were able to stand in the water, which was surprisingly quite warm, seeing that in the nights Doha has a chilly breeze. There were also camels at the party that were available to the guest if they wanted to take a ride! The party was a fantastic way to not only end but also to have a relaxing evening to end the eventful and exhausting first week of COP.

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Overall the first week was successfully on many levels and we as a delegation are excited to have another productive and exciting week of COP.

Signing off from Doha and wishing the IFMSA family well,

Tanya Kondolay on behalf of the COP18 delegation.

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