9 October, Bangkok – The Asia Pacific HIV and SOGIESC health and rights network APCOM has highlighted the shrinking space for civil society in the region and the contraction of funding for such activities as part of it’s 2019 Annual Update, which was released today.
The report provides an overview of the organisation’s activities and achievements over 2019, the organisation’s twelfth year of working to improve and protect the health and rights of gay men, other men who have sex with men and people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identify and expression and sexual characteristics (SOGIESC) across Asia and the Pacific.
APCOM Regional Advisory Group Chair Dédé Oetomo: “We’re extremely proud of our work in 2019 – as well as over the last 12 years – as we’ve pursued our mission to bring equity, dignity and social justice to the people and communities we serve.”
“However, in addition to our programmatic work, we also had to strive throughout 2019 to deal with a range of challenges due to the shrinking space for civil society in the region and to the contraction of funds for such activities. While we feel we have been able to successfully adapt to changing circumstances, the reduced capacity of many civil society organisations in our sector does not bode well as the need for education and advocacy around health and rights for our communities remains critical.”
“The HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific continues to escalate among our communities, their health outcomes in relation to sexual health, mental health and drug use remain undervalued and their human and legal rights continue to be suppressed in many cities and countries across the region. And then of course the impact of COVID-19 has added a whole other layer of complexity to all these issues.”APCOM Executive Director, Midnight Poonkasetwattana
“Despite the challenges and threats, APCOM and our partners remain focused on ensuring that the health and rights of our communities will be respected and protected, and we look forward to building on our achievements in 2019 and delivering more innovative and creative work in the years ahead.”
APCOM 2019 Highlights
- We delivered our TestXXX HIV prevention program in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, and Yogyakarta. Inspiring similar programs in other locations, the multi-platform campaign has proven successful due to it’s fun and non-judgmental approach to HIV testing.
- Our pioneering SHIFT HIV financing program provided strategic information and resources aimed at helping HIV organisations in a range of economically transitioning Asian countries to develop sustainable HIV responses.
- We continued to lead in the provision of information and tools to enable community organisations in countries across the region to advocate for increased access for community members to new HIV prevention treatment PrEP.
- We delivered community engagement for the Global Fund’s Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations In Asia Program. The SKPA project aims to scale up and promote HIV prevention services for communities most affected by HIV in Bhutan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.
- We continued to engage with the Asian Development Bank to ensure it incorporates non-discriminatory measures in its projects and financing activities.
- We presented the third annual Asia Pacific HERO Awards which recognise outstanding service to our communities across the region. This included a symposium on engaging the private sector in our work and culminated in a fabulous awards ceremony in the grounds of the Netherlands Embassy in Bangkok.
View or download the full APCOM 2019 Annual Update.
Find out more about our previous Annual Updates: