Islamic Relief (IR) has been asked to contribute to the World Disasters Report 2008 in recognition of its efforts in the field of HIV/AIDS.
The report, released on June 26 2008, contains an article produced by IR’s Policy and Research Department; When faith leaders and people living with HIV come together, which was produced as a result of IR’s 2007 Islam and HIV/AIDS conference.
“This is the world's single most important annual publication in the field of humanitarian work, and a 750 word text about Islamic Relief's work is a beautiful recognition of the groundbreaking work we are doing,” said IR’s Head of Policy and Research, Willem van Eekelen.
The article takes the form of a case study, outlining the plight of Fatima, a young mother from east Africa, who after being diagnosed with HIV experienced significant stigma and discrimination from her community.
The stigma facing those who are diagnosed with HIV is a major issue within the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) World Disasters Report 2008, which is entitled Focus on HIV and AIDS.
“The HIV and AIDS epidemic is a disaster whose scale and extent could have been prevented. Ignorance, stigma, political inaction, indifference and denial all contributed to millions of deaths,” said Lindsay Knight, editor of the report in a statement.
“The report dispels myths about those ‘other’ people who spread HIV – refugees, migrants, people escaping from conflict and poverty. We must all do much more to eradicate stigma,” she added.
IR’s contribution to the report recognises the fact that it’s 2007 conference marked the beginning of a necessary shift in attitudes towards the disease within the Muslim World.
The conference was comprised of five days of consultations which brought together Islamic scholars and religious figures with people working in the field and those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Van Eekelen pointed out that within IR the taboo has been broken, with the subject of HIV/AIDS regularly being referred to openly within internal and external publications, but that more was needed to address the issue within the Muslim world as a whole.
“There is of course still a massive challenge ahead of us, but progress is fast and unambiguous. Last week, for example, I was invited to come to London twice to give presentations about HIV for two different Muslim audiences. Only a year ago, that would have been impossible - but suddenly it is something that people are eager to discuss,” he said.
Published annually since 1993, the World Disasters Report brings together the latest trends, facts and analysis of contemporary crisis – whether ‘natural’ or man-made, quick onset or chronic. The 2007 report dealt with the issue of discrimination during disasters.
To read the World Disasters Report 2008 click here
For more information on IR and HIV/AIDS click here