Big Step on the Long March for Chinese Civil Society

aids_chinaChina’s First Forum on AIDS and Human Rights
On July 5th, China convened the first meeting of the Red Ribbon Forum, a gathering of government officials, NGOs and experts to discuss AIDS and human rights concerns. Mark Heywood, the chair of the UNAIDS Theme Group on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, delivered a speech calling for more space for civil society. During an intense – and in China, unprecedented – discussion period, civil society representatives raised frank concerns about a range of human rights issues, including ongoing restrictions on civil society, and demands for compensation for the blood scandal that transmitted HIV to thousands of villagers. The full text of Heywood’s speech follows.
“I would like to start my presentation this morning by thanking you for inviting me to this historic occasion, and congratulating you on the bold decision to set up the Red Ribbon Forum. This is a great step forward, but obviously it will be measured and evaluated not only by what you achieve today, but what you achieve over the coming years as a result of this Forum.

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