HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 c771W
John Barrett

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance is being given to help women who were raped during the genocide in Rwanda and who now suffer from HIV/AIDS. [167826]

Hilary Benn

HIV/AIDS is a serious problem in Rwanda. Rwanda does not yet have the health infrastructure required to effectively deliver anti-retroviral therapy (ART) countrywide. But the Government have produced a comprehensive "Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS Control" and all the major donors, including the Clinton Foundation, the Global Fund and the World Bank, have committed to support it. This framework includes the progressive provision of ART to all who need it, through a network of health centres. Through a partnership between UNAIDS and five of the leading multinational pharmaceutical companies (the Accelerating Access to HIV/AIDS Care, Treatment And Support Initiative), Rwanda is one of the countries that have reached agreement with manufacturers on significantly reduced drug prices in the context of its national HIV care and treatment plans.

The UK has committed £25 million through the International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa Programme (IPAA) to increase capacity in certain National HIV/AIDS Commissions, including Rwanda. DFID is currently considering whether we can build on this engagement, to ensure that Rwanda has the capacity to manage and direct the various programmes of support.

DFIF is also providing direct assistance to the survivors of the genocide through the Government's Survivors Fund (FARG). This assistance is currently running at some £200,000 per annum, and planned additional support up to £850,000 will enable FARG to broaden the services it provides to include advice and counselling on issues around HIV/AIDS.

I have a specific concern over the inequity in access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment between the defendants and the witnesses at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR) for Rwanda, which is considering crimes committed during the genocide. While defendants have access to health care including ART, witnesses generally do not. I wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, asking how the United Nations and the international community could work to resolve this inequity. The UN Secretary General replied, reporting that UNAIDS/WHO were identifying suitable health care providers, but seeking assistance from the UK to fund ART treatment for witnesses. I have responded positively and offered DFID assistance up to £200,000 for ICTR witnesses and others called by the Tribunal to receive healthcare, including ART, from a centre in Kigali.

Forward to