Principles and values of conference participation
The IAS endorses freedom of expression as an essential principle in the fight against HIV and in promoting full participation in the International AIDS Conference and the IAS Conference on HIV Science. The combined efforts of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors and civil society are required to halt and reverse the AIDS epidemic. Activism and advocacy contribute to advancing commitment, policy and practice aimed at ending the epidemic.
The right to participate at an IAS supported conference is fundamental to ensuring open dialogue between all stakeholders. The IAS encourages debate and dialogue as key elements of participation, among all conference participants including delegates, sponsors, speakers and presenters, researchers and scientists, community representatives, leaders and the media.
Peaceful protest has always been and continues to be a key element of participation at the conferences. The IAS opposes the destruction of property or the use or threat of physical force by any individual or group of individuals during the conferences. The IAS opposes the disruption of conference sessions or satellite symposia that results in the inability for dialogue and debate to take place.
- Responsibility: All participants attending a conference are subject to the laws applicable in the host country. By attending a conference, participants also agree to adhere to these Principles and Values of Conference Participation.
- Support: The conference will provide support and space for meaningful participation including community involvement to enable a broad spectrum of viewpoints.
- Peaceful protest: This form of participation is supported at the conference. Action that involves the use or threat of physical force, or the destruction of property, may contravene the laws of the host country.
- Prior resolution: These Principles are intended to guide the conference organizers’ response to actual disruptions that prevent participation. The IAS encourages dialogue among and with participants prior to action that may result in disruption of participation. Advice and assistance in facilitating dialogue and resolution and in preventing or de-escalating a disruption is available.
- Access: The conference reserves the right to withdraw the name badge, and therefore, deny access to participants who do not adhere to these Principles. The full statement on Principles and Values of Conference Participation is available at the on-site registration counter.
Procedures involving disruptions within sessions and satellite symposia, the exhibition hall and conference centre
- Session slide: In session halls, a slide will be available which reads “Please respect the right of the speaker to be heard and of other participants to hear the speaker.” In the event of verbal disruption, the Chair of the session may signal the audio visual technician to display the slide. The slide may remain displayed until the disruption has died down. If there are further disruptions, the slide may be displayed again
- Engagement representative: It is recommended that all exhibitors designate a representative to engage in dialogue with peaceful protestors prior to any situation arising.
- Application of the law: The conference participants are subject to the laws applicable in the host country. Physical force or threats of physical force or destruction of property by conference participants will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the country. In addition, the response may include the escorting of participants from the conference venue.
- Access: In the event of disruption or action that does not respect these Principles, the conference may withdraw a participant’s name badge and suspend or cancel the participant’s access to the conference.
- Access appeal: If a conference participant feels that his or her access has been wrongly withdrawn, the participant will have 24 hours to appeal the decision with the conference organizers. Appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Public statement: In the event that property is destroyed or physical force is used or threatened by a participant, the IAS may issue a statement concerning the action within the framework of the Principles and Values of Conference Participation.
Other procedures and measures for supporting participation
The conference will offer or provide other measures to support or facilitate meaningful participation.
Sessions Participation: The conference programme will include conference sessions and activities for various viewpoints to be expressed and for dissenting voices to be heard, as key elements of the IAS’ commitment to enhanced participation and dialogue.
Prior Dialogue and Consultation: The IAS encourages dialogue among and with participants prior to the conference and prior to any action that is contemplated and that might result in disruption of participation. The IAS will consult with activist and advocacy organizations, sponsors and local partners, and other participants on policies and measures to increase and facilitate participation.
Networking and Meeting Space: The IAS will provide spaces in the conference venue to facilitate and support dialogue, discussion, and networking. These spaces include a lounge for persons living with HIV (Positive lounge), and informal networking areas or zones.
Community Activist Liaison: The conference will provide support for dialogue and participation through a Community Activist Liaison who will provide advice and assistance in advance of and during the conference. The Community Activist Liaison will consult with activist organizations and individuals, as well as programme committee members, to identify from the conference programme, those conference sessions that are most likely to generate or attract peaceful protest and dissent.