WINNIPEG, CANADA: Now, with the opening of the 16th International AIDS conference we find ourselves asking "Can we again stand idly by?" This is a time to move into action and live up to our Responsbility to Protect.
The Rwandan genocide was full of absolute horrors and atrocities. That horror lives on some 12 years later for the many women who were gang-raped and are now dying slowly from AIDS. It may not be a machete severing one's neck, but it is just as deadly. AIDS 2006 is an opportunity for the international community to not simply renew its commitment to fighting the AIDS epidemic, but a time to act to protect all those suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including the 9% of the population in Rwanda who are HIV positive.
Where is our Prime Minister on this historic occasion? One has to ask. The lack of his presence at the International AIDS conference in Toronto begs the question, how is Canada demonstrating its commitment to protect the 36.3 million adults and 2.3 million children who were living with HIV at the end of 2005 (http://www.avert.org/worlstatinfo.htm). I challenge the Prime Minister to stand up for Canadians who are suffering from HIV/AIDS and the millions of people around the world who are currently living with the virus. We indeed have a responsibility to protect to help control the spread of HIV worldwide.