HIV and AIDS Advocacy Groups around the World Call for More Funding Transparency
World AIDS Day to Mark Start of International Effort to Shed Light on How Public Funds Are Used
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — International development agencies in nine countries — Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America-have been asked to explain their criteria for funding HIV and AIDS assistance — and whether faith-based organizations get special concessions when they apply for public funds to deliver prevention and treatment programs abroad.
Sixteen national and international nongovernmental organizations today wrote to nine national overseas development agencies, requesting “assistance in achieving greater transparency and accountability in the funding that faith-based organizations receive from publicly-funded bilateral and multilateral donors.” The letter also went to UNFPA and UNAIDS.
The organizations noted that it can be unreasonably difficult to find out how much taxpayer money is granted to organizations working on HIV and AIDS. Not only that, it is also difficult to determine the criteria by which public funders judge whether an organization is eligible to receive funds for its HIV and AIDS work and, importantly, whether special considerations are made for faith-based organizations.
Jon O’Brien, president of the sponsoring organization Catholics for Choice, said, “The pope’s comments on condom use in HIV prevention present a terrific opportunity for action — opening the door for increased prevention options to be made available and for assistance to be provided to some of the more marginalized groups, including sex workers and men who have sex with men. Indeed, it has thrown open the doors to a more public conversation about the use of condoms to curtail the HIV pandemic. This is especially true for faith-based organizations that have often claimed religious justification for refusing to provide condoms or to work with any number of communities of whose ‘lifestyles’ they do not approve.”
The effort was initiated by Catholics for Choice and its Condoms4Life campaign — the only campaign dedicated to changing the church’s teachings on condoms. (To see the Condoms4Life ads placed in newspapers around the world on World AIDS Day, click here.) The signatories will follow up with the development agencies in January 2011.
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SOURCE Catholics for Choice