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Global Day of Protest against Coca-Cola: O17

by from Health Gap, ACT-UP etc Friday, Sep. 06, 2002 at 1:05 AM
info@healthgap.org

In Barcelona, major AIDS groups from across the globe issued a call for actions on October 17th demanding AIDS drugs for Coca Cola's 100,000 employees and bottling plant workers in Africa. The numbers of countries and cities planning actions is growing rapidly, and the company is running scared. Here's how you can get involved in the Global Day of Protest.

COCA-COLA, WORKPLACE HIV TREATMENT, AND A GLOBAL DAY OF PROTEST

Dear Colleagues,

Please distribute the following announcement widely. It invites organizations to endorse and take part in a Global Day of Protest against Coca-Cola on October 17, 2002, for refusing to provide AIDS treatment for workers and their dependents in developing countries.

The struggle for expanding affordable access to AIDS treatment gained a victory in August of 2002, when under pressure from labor and AIDS groups, the mining giants Anglo American, Anglo Gold and De Beers agreed to provide AIDS treatment-including antiretroviral drugs-to their workers. In the case of De Beers, the offer extends to a single sex partner of a De Beer's worker-but not to dependents. Gold Fields stands out as one of the largest mining corporations in sub-Saharan Africa left that still refuses to provide AIDS drugs to its workforce, with an estimated HIV seroprevalence of 25%.

While we believe the onus of public health is on the public sector, businesses have a responsibility to fulfill the human right to treatment among HIV positive workers and dependents. As corporations implement workplace treatment programs, pressure is brought upon on governments who are no longer credible in their arguments that treatment is not feasible.

Coca-Cola, another corporation that has enjoyed a rapidly growing market, decades of escalating profit and low labor costs in Africa, also refuses to pay for HIV treatment for the bulk of its workers. Instead, Coke issued a policy in June 2001 that only HIV positive people among Coke administrative staff are eligible for access to treatment. This leaves almost 100,000 bottlers and distributors without access to medicines should they become sick with HIV.

We challenge Coca-Cola to fulfill its fundamental obligation- to implement comprehensive HIV/AIDS workplace programs and policies, which include treatment and care for infected workers and their dependents.

With the HIV/AIDS pandemic decimating whole societies, Coca-Cola must take responsibility for its workplace policies and programs and ensure all HIV infected workers, and their dependents, have access to AIDS treatment and care.

We ask you to join us in this campaign. Without international pressure and attention on Coca-Cola, their policy of inaction and neglect resulting in otherwise preventable infections and needless illness and death in its massive workforces in Africa, and in Asia, particularly India and Thailand will not change.

In Solidarity,

Sharonann Lynch

Health GAP

ACT UP New York

USA

Zackie Achmat

Treatment Action Campaign

South Africa

*please distribute widely and excuse multiple postings*

************************************************************

STOP MEDICAL APARTHEID -- FIGHT FOR AIDS TREATMENT FOR WORKERS

Call on Coca-Cola, others corporations to treat workers with HIV

OCTOBER 17, 2002: GLOBAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST CORPORATIONS DENYING AIDS DRUGS

************************************************************

Join ACT UP, Health GAP, Treatment Action Campaign, and others to demand Coca-Cola and other multinational corporations pay for AIDS treatment for workers living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

************************************************************

DEMANDS

We demand Coca-Cola and other multinational corporations operating in developing countries:

* Provide all workers and their dependents with comprehensive healthcare - including life-sustaining antiretroviral treatments.

* Offer confidential HIV testing and counseling to all workers, in the context of a clear anti-discrimination policy.

* Distribute free condoms in the workplace, and provide safer-sex and sexual health education classes.

* Develop further HIV/AIDS prevention and education policies in collaboration with affected employees, their labor representatives, and community-based health initiatives.

************************************************************

MORE INFORMATION

Tel: 1-212-674-9598, Email: info@healthgap.org

Go to: http://www.treat-your-workers.org

- fact sheet on Coke and workers living HIV/AIDS

- updated list of endorsers and campaign materials

- activist toolkits for students, non-students

- growing list of events, protests

*********************************

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GLOBAL DAY OF PROTEST:

ENDORSE the Global Day of Protest against Coca Cola by filling out the form below and sending via email to salynch@healthgap.org.

MOBILIZE people in your area, your organization, on your campus. Download activist and student toolkits at www.treat-your-workers.org

ORGANIZE: Activists in the U.S., South Africa, Thailand, Morocco, and France will take part in a global day of action to protest Coca-Cola. Similar to other coordinated solidarity campaigns, the groups will protest Coca-Cola at location in various countries and cities on the same day. Contact Health GAP for information on how to take part in your area.

*********************************

Take Action: Tell Coke executives to provide AIDS treatment for all of their HIV + workers in Africa

1) Write, Fax, and Call Coca-Cola today:

- Phone: 404-676-4971 or Fax: 404-515-2226

- Download and fax in the community letter to Coke's CEO Doug Daft: www.treat-your-workers.org

2) Join the campaign for access to HIV/AIDS treatment for workers & families, and the GLOBAL DAY OF PROTEST- Oct 17, 2002.

********

SPONSORS

The organizations sponsoring the Global Day of Protest against Coca-Cola include Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa), Global AIDS Alliance, European AIDS Treatment Group, Association Marocaine de Lutte Contre le Sida (Association Fighting AIDS), Morocco, Health GAP, ACT UP New York, ACT UP Philadelphia, Act Up-Paris, ACT UP East Bay, the Thai Network of People Living with HIV (TNP+), and Student Global AIDS Alliance.

Full list of endorsers below.

************************************************************

ENDORSE THE GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST COKE, OCTOBER 17, 2002.

SEND TO INFO@HEALTHGAP.ORG

I / We endorse the Global Day of Protest against Coke.

Name:

Organization:

Email:

Address:

Phone:

Fax

Endorsement is

( ) Individual

( ) Organizational

( ) Both

I / my organization can assist with the following needs:

( ) Will attend / bring others

( ) Will assist with the Global Day of Protest by:



************************************************************

SEND TO INFO@HEALTHGAP.ORG

For background information on the campaign to expand access to AIDS treatment in developing countries: http://www.globaltreatmentaccess.org

Paul Davis

Health GAP

ACT UP Philadelphia

e: pdavis@healthgap.org

t: +1 215.833.4102 (mobile)

f: +1 215.474.4793

w: www.healthgap.org

###

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