AIDS Pandemic Sweeps Africa

Toronto, Ontario

August 23, 2003


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AIDS Pandemic Sweeps Africa
AIDS Pandemic Sweeps Africa
dated June 5, 2003

       Toronto, Ontario
August 21, 2003

       Over 100 million people will die of AIDS. That startling fact broke over the 1,000 delegates and guests at the Canadian Auto Workers Union 7th Constitutional Convention with shocking effect. United Nations Special Envoy Stephen Lewis says the world is ignoring the tragedy and should be held accountable.

Stephen Lewis
       "I have often thought that one day the world is going to have to be held accountable."
       "One day we're going to have to have a peace time tribunal with a new definition of crimes against humanity to bring to account those who have watched as so many watched in 1994, when 800,000 people died in one hundred days, during the Rwandan genocide and the world raised not a finger."
       "I don't know whether it is subterranean racism. I don't know whether it is geo-politics. I don't know whether it is indifference to the developing world. All I know is that it is as morally wrong, and it constitutes a moral void of a kind which in my lifetime I thought that I would never see."


       Lewis says over 30 million people have contracted AIDS and over 15 million children are now orphans. He urged CAW members to become part of the solution.

Stephen Lewis
       "Unions like this one, with a profound and deep and abiding social conscience, should focus on international issues to some extent with the same principle that you represent in the collective bargaining apparatus of the union and the way you serve your members."

       While the current death toll is staggering, Lewis said it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Stephen Lewis

       "And the tragedy, and I will bring these remarks to an end as I must, is that the death spiral is just beginning. The people who were infected in the late 1980s and early 1990s have now developed full blown AIDS and they are beginning to die in huge numbers. And the death rates will continue until the years 2008 - 2009. And the numbers of orphaned kids will multiply and this is where we need the conscience of unions like your own to fight the good fight."
       "I learned in my democratic socialism that you don't always win the day you want to win but you never give up the battle. And you've learned in collective bargaining with employers and dealing with governments on every issue, from trade to wages, that you never stop fighting. Because one day you grind the beggars down and the world becomes a more civilized, enlightened, just and humane society."


CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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