Last year, ECOM saw a number of significant improvements that will contribute to increasing the efficiency of the Coalition’s activities.
2016 was a crucial year for those involved with the global HIV response. Two major forums, the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (HLM) and the International AIDS Conference 2016, took place, providing stakeholders and activists important opportunities to discuss issues related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In addition to these two events, ECOM was involved in numerous other initiatives and events, in order to advocate for the rights of men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans* people in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).
“The situation with respect to HIV and LGBT rights in the EECA region remains tense. Throughout 2016, ECOM’s activities continued to focus on supporting the needs of MSM and trans* people at the national, regional and global levels. To this end, ECOM participated in a number of International advocacy events and also provided several minor grants to our members in EECA countries”, said Vitaly Djuma, ECOM’s Executive Director.
In 2016, ECOM finalized a legislative analysis project which examines legislation related to HIV and LGBT rights in 9 countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. The project addressed key issues related to the rights of people living with HIV, gay, bisexual and other MSM and trans* people, including travel and immigration bans on PLHIV, criminalization of HIV transmission, bans on blood donation by MSM, forced medical procedures, criminalization of same-sex sexual activity, same-sex unions and adoption by same-sex partners, “gay propaganda” laws, gender identity policies and procedures, antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people, hate crimes legislation, and community advocacy initiatives.
ECOM released a number of publications on HIV prevalence among MSM in EECA and promoted several advocacy tools, as The Advocacy Guide which analyzes the paragraphs of the UN Political Declaration on HIV relevant to MSM and trans* issues and identifies entry points and barriers for advocates.
Aside from these programmatic developments, 2016 also witnessed a number of organizational changes to ECOM. Over the past year, ECOM secretariat doubled its staff which welcomed Gennady Roschupkin as Technical Support Coordinator, Maxim Kasianczuk as Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Yuri Yoursky as Human Rights and Legal Issues Officer, Paata Sabelashvili as Advocacy Coordinator, and Elena German was appointed as Program Director of ECOM.
ECOM members elected a new Steering Committee which is responsible for strategic guidance of the Coalition in the next 3 years.
ECOM continued to work closely with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and made final preparations for its Regional Program ‘Right to Health’ which started in January 2017.
All of these and other activities are detailed in the ECOM Annual Report, which we present for your attention.