UN envoy calls AIDS 'mass murder by indifference'

AFRICA: UN envoy calls AIDS 'mass murder by indifference'

JOHANNESBURG, 25 Nov 2004 (PLUSNEWS) - The severity of HIV/AIDS in Africa is tantamount to "mass murder by indifference", the UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, said in the German weekly, Die Zeit.

Speaking ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, Lewis said: "Africa lost its geostrategic interest after the Cold War ... But there has always also been underlying racism towards [the continent] ... This is why I speak of mass murder through indifference."

The continent is home to nearly two-thirds of all people living with HIV/AIDS globally, and the pandemic has already driven life expectancy to below 40 years in nine countries.

"Rich countries don't worry enough about poor countries," Lewis said, noting that that UNAIDS had spent US $4.3 billion dollars on AIDS last year, while the war and reconstruction in Iraq will cost $200 billion dollars by the end of 2004.


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