By Yadanar Aung, YWCA of Myanmar.
On 22-23 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, Chantanee molee, General Secretary of the YWCA of Thailand, Lynette, YWCA of Philippines, Sujana Lama, YWCA of Nepal, Cz Ralte, YWCA of India and myself Yadanar, YWCA of Myanmar attended the second closed door dialogue on theology, HIV and Human Rights.
The objective of the second closed door dialogue was to bring together experts in the fields of Christian Theology, ethics, human rights, and HIV, including people living with HIV – in order to further explore, in a safe and private space, the intersections between theology and human rights in the context of the global response to the ongoing HIV pandemic.
Sujana Lama is the young women board member of the YWCA of Nepal. After actively participated at the second closed door dialogue she said,” Yes although we have lots of issues and challenges related to SRHR we still can do lots more without compromising our faith. Jesus the Lord, as our role model who never had discriminatory mindset following on his footstep we should dedicate ourselves to fight against ignorance, denial and hate. The core of our faith is totally based on love and respect for human kind without judging their sin. So all religious leaders need to create safe space in SRHR and HIV AIDS for young women to overcome stigma and discriminations, promote prevention and protect human right.”
Cz Ralt is a project coordinator at Aizawl, YWCA of India and she said, “We need to work together to get zero HIV status even church leaders have to create HIV and SRHR awareness amongst his church members. Young women do not have many platforms to proceed HIV and SRHR campaign, that is why I wish that our church leaders help us create more awareness. Together we are greater than AIDS.”
Yadanar is a young women’s coordinator at the YWCA of Myanmar. She mentioned that,” Churches and church-related organizations play an important role in HIV prevention, treatment and human rights issues since religious leaders have a unique authority and people often listen to their words and follow their guidance. Engagement of religious leaders and faith communities in an open and constructive manner is important. Awareness raising of SRHR, HIV, Human Rights through religious leaders and faith communities to reduce stigma and discrimination has to be increased. As Jesus shows many examples against discrimination, reducing stigma and showing love, we also need to follow His examples and finally we can reach zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination.”
We really thank World YWCA and Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance for giving us this wonderful opportunity to participate in this second closed door dialogue on theology, HIV and human rights and we really learnt a lot by this dialogue and we will also take part in advocating more participation of religious leaders and faith communities in HIV, human rights and SRHR issues and also share what we have learned to other young women.