HIV/AIDS training sessions to leaders of refugees’ communitiesOdessa, 13-15 August: A UNDP-led Project “Governance of HIV/AIDS” has organized a training entitled “Human Rights and HIV” for leaders of refugees’ communities residing in the city’s temporary shelter for refugees. The participants discussed a number of questions and defined further steps helping raise HIV awareness among their communities in Ukraine.   HIV/AIDS training sessions to leaders of refugees’ communitiesOdessa, 13-15 August: A UNDP-led Project “Governance of HIV/AIDS” has organized a training entitled “Human Rights and HIV” for leaders of refugees’ communities residing in the city’s temporary shelter for refugees. The participants discussed a number of questions and defined further steps helping raise HIV awareness among their communities in Ukraine. HIV/AIDS training sessions to leaders of refugees communities

According to Ukrainian legislation, refugees enjoy almost the same rights as Ukrainian citizens and have similar responsibilities, apart from certain exceptions. Consequently, the refugees in Ukraine among other rights have rights for health care, medical service and medical insurance. If a refugee is HIV infected he has a right to seek reimbursement of damages incurred by illegal disclosure of personal information, as well receive remedies, individual hygiene and social-psychological assistance and use an isolated room.

The training attracted 16 leaders of refugees' communities in Ukraine. The participants discussed a number of matters relating to HIV/AIDS, prevention and treatment, with a special focus on human rights, particularly violation of rights of the people living with HIV/AIDS, their stigma and consequent discrimination.

In fact, the refugees often encounter intolerance and racism, and run across corruption, discrimination and bureaucracy in cases of aid delivery. Particularly, the workshop participants pointed out that all of them had passed HIV tests as it was obligatory for all applicants seeking a refugee status in Ukraine. However, they were not given any counseling (neither before nor after the test). According to Thomas Lucacai, who is originally from Angola, his HIV test was directly sent to migration service.

Quite often the refugees who come to Ukraine do not know their rights and don't speak local languages. That is why ensuring on-going communication within their communities is crucial to get proper information.

Viyan U Sif, head of the Kharkiv community "Kurdistan", believes that he obtained essential HIV knowledge at the workshop. He also got important information on human rights of refugees in Ukraine. "During this three-day training I got excellent opportunities to get acquainted with other representatives who are going, like me, to share the received knowledge with our compatriots," he added.

More than 2,500 people in Ukraine have got refugee status. As a rule, they had to leave their home countries to survive. Near a half of them are originally from Afghanistan. In addition, 30% of the refugees come from former Soviet Union republics, as a result of national and war conflicts in Tadjikistan, Chechnya, Uzbekistan. Only 8 - 10 % of the refugees are from other countries (mainly representing South Asia and Africa).

For more information, please, contact Oksana Skytalinska, Communications Specialist, "Governance of HIV/AIDS" Project: (+38044) 253-82-90 and (+38044) 537-22-93 or Oksana.Skytalinska@undp.org.ua