STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN – 20th Anniversary of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief 

28 Jan

The Secretary of State

Twenty years ago today, President George W. Bush announced the creation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  Since that historic announcement, the people of the United States provided more than $100 billion to save more than 25 million lives and contributed to the resilient public and community health systems for today and the future. Working with partner governments, multilateral and regional institutions, people living with HIV/AIDS, NGOs, and other stakeholders, we are confident that we can continue that progress and eliminate HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

With bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress and the generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has provided over 20.1 million people with life-saving HIV treatment in over 55 countries. These efforts have built, and continue to build, a stronger health infrastructure in many countries, improving health security and responses to other health crises such as COVID-19, mpox, and Ebola.

However, we know that progress in ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic can be easily reversed without focused, sustained, and equitable action. We cannot achieve our goal to end HIV/AIDS as a global health threat if we deny people’s rights or if we allow stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS or those who are most vulnerable to acquiring HIV. As President Biden declared on World AIDS Day 2022, “e finally have the scientific understanding, treatments, and tools to build an AIDS-free future where everyone – no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love – can get the care and respect they deserve.” Our Administration is committed to ensuring all LGBTQI+ individuals are treated with dignity and respect, closing pernicious gender gaps, and ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. It is incumbent upon us to maintain progress, follow the science, and address disparities and inequitable access to achieve our shared goals.

Thank you to the many people across the world who have helped PEPFAR succeed over the previous twenty years and who are joining me today in recommitting to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. We look forward to marking PEPFAR’s twenty years of impact throughout 2023.

Haiti National Day

1 Jan

The Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the Haitian people as you commemorate your country’s long history of independence and celebrate the start of a new year.

This year has seen many challenges for the Haitian people.  It is a testament to our two nations’ close partnership that our humanitarian organizations, faith-based organizations, and individual American and Haitian citizens have collaborated to address the challenges facing Haiti.  Together, we have delivered humanitarian assistance to tens-of-thousands of Haitians facing food insecurity as well as medical supplies and logistical support to combat the spread of cholera.

Haiti faces a difficult road ahead in the new year, but the United States stands firmly with Haiti as it works to restore security, the rule of law, democratic institutions, and economic stability.

The Passing of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus

31 Dec

The Secretary of State

The United States mourns the passing of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus – a holy man, witness to faith, and once Shepherd of the Catholic faithful.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a dedicated leader and was committed to interfaith dialogue.  He was an advocate for vulnerable persons, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrants.  He supported international legal measures to defend them.  He was a renowned theologian within the Catholic Church for decades.

We offer our deepest condolences to the Catholic faithful around the world, the Holy See, and all those whose lives were enriched by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s spiritual guidance.

International Migrants Day

18 Dec

The Secretary of State

On International Migrants Day, we recognize the contributions of individual migrants, as well as their rights and struggles, and reiterate the United States’ actions to support safe, orderly, and humane migration around the world.

There are hundreds of millions of international migrants globally, each a person with a name, a unique story, and a reason for leaving their home. People migrate for work or education, to reunite with families, and to seek new opportunities for themselves as well as their families. Some migrate temporarily and return home, while others seek to immigrate safely and lawfully to other countries.

Migration is also happening in a context of significant forced displacement. While most people move by choice, some 100 million people have also tragically been forcibly displaced worldwide, including by failing authoritarian regimes.  Climate change has caused millions to leave their homes.  Disasters alone led to 23.7 million internal displacements in 2021.

Conflict, violence, persecution, human rights violations and abuses, economic hardship, as well as climate change push people to undertake dangerous journeys in search of safety and better opportunities. The challenges of irregular migration exacerbated by COVID-19 and climate impacts are difficult, but they are not impossible to address if all nations face them together. No single country can address and resolve migration issues on its own.

The United States recognizes that to achieve safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration, we need comprehensive regional and global plans that address these complex issues. For example, since June, 21 countries, including the United States, have endorsed the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection to strengthen our shared response to irregular migration and forced displacement throughout the Western Hemisphere. We are now joining with our partners to turn the Declaration’s principles into joint action.

The United States is proud to be the largest single provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide reaching people in need, including refugees, conflict victims, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants. In FY 2022, the United States provided more than $17 billion in humanitarian assistance – an increase of more than 30 percent over the prior year.

The United States is committed to working collaboratively with governments, civil society, international organizations, and other partners to address the root causes of irregular migration and to manage migration humanely.

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