On Monday 5th July Mark Heywood, the director of SECTION27, was one of the keynote speakers at the launch of China’s first ever forum between the Chinese government and civil society representatives to talk about human rights issues linked to HIV/AIDS. The China Red Ribbon Beijing Forum as it is known was opened by the Vice Minister of Health, Yin Li, UNAIDS and a person living with HIV. Heywood spoke on the importance of engagement between government and civil society on issues of human rights.
During his five day visit, Heywood also provided training on human rights to government officials running the AIDS programme and met with civil society leaders working on issues related to AIDS.
SECTION27 believes that as China grows in importance as a world power and in economic and political influence in Africa, that engagement and collaboration between civil society organisations in our countries is very important. Links should not just be at a governmental level. In this respect, we note the planned high level meeting on health due to take place between China and South Africa during the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York in September 2010. We call on both countries to include civil society in these discussions.
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Please note that Mark Heywood will only be arriving back in South Africa on 9 July 2010.