People planning to attend AIDS conference in Montreal still struggle to get visas

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MONTREAL – International AIDS organizations say people from Africa, South America and Asia planning to attend a major conference in Montreal are still struggling to get visas.

Last week, nearly 250 organizations around the world sent a joint letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser asking him to take action to ensure that participants can attend the International AIDS Conference.

Tinashe Rufurwadzo of Y+ Global, an international HIV-positive youth organization, says her organization’s board chairman and another of its employees were denied visas to attend the conference.

Rufurwadzo says young people on the African continent must be able to meaningfully participate in the conference, not just be represented by images in PowerPoint presentations.

Tumie Komanyane, who runs a number of programs for the international NGO Frontline AIDS in South Africa, says the groups she works with planned to help more than a dozen young people attend the conference, but decided not to even apply for 10 visas after the first four applications were rejected.

Conference organizers have previously described delays and visa denials as a potential disaster for the event.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 2, 2022.

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