Press Releases

  • Dialogue on Transformative Theological Reflections: Sexual Diversity: Act of faith: Embracing Diversity!
    August 29, 2013
    INERELA+ Presents: Dialogue on Transformative Theological Reflections: Sexual Diversity:  Act of faith: Embracing Diversity! 2-5th September Johannesburg, SA. The dialogue seeks to challenge all forms of discrimination: religious, sexism, homophobia, violence, and criminalization targeting sexual minorities. The event is multi-faith and open attendance to people who can cover all costs. For more information email:info@inerela.org or  click on Event information. 
  • INERELA+ proud to announce new Executive Director
    November 11, 2012
    INERELA+ Announces the Appointment of New ED 1 November 2012 The Board of Directors of INERELA+ (an international, interfaith network of religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS) is delighted to announce that it has voted to appoint the Revd Phumzile Mabizela as its new Executive Director, effective 1 December 2012. Revd Mabizela, an Ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church of Africa, has vast programmatic experience responding to the HIV epidemic with national and international faith- based organizations, with a particular focus on marginalized communities. She currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor on Gender Justice for Norwegian Church Aid. Her previous work positions include several years as Chief Executive Officer of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council and as Program Coordinator on Women and Gender at the School of Theology and Religion, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has also worked as a consultant on HIV with many international organizations. As a person openly living with HIV since 1999, Revd Mabizela is deeply committed to combatting HIV-related silence, stigma and discrimination and advocating for effective prevention, care, treatment and support. She is a Founding Member of INERELA+, having been present at its initial meeting in Zimbabwe in 2002 and serving for a time as its board member representing Southern Africa. She is also a board member of several community and faith-based organizations. Born and raised in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Revd Mabizela is a widow and the mother of three children. She currently resides in Pretoria. INERELA+ is an international, interfaith network of religious leaders – both lay and ordained, women and men – who are living with or personally affected by HIV. It works to empower its members to use their positions within their faith communities to respond to HIV in ways that break silence, challenge stigma and enhance the availability of evidenced-based prevention, care, and treatment services.
  • New INERELA+ Board Announced
    July 25, 2012
    During the Board Meeting held in Washington DC, July 19th a new INERELA+ Board was constituted. Bishop Mpire Kamanga (Chairperson); Southern Africa Dr. Erlinda Senturias (Vice Chairperson); Asia Pacific The Rev’d Fr. JP Mokgethi-Heath (Executive Director); Pastor Vololona Randriamanantena; Francofone Pastor William Kola Oluwaniyi; West Africa The Rev’d Dean. Richard Oyaro; East Africa Sister Delia Smith; The Americas and Caribbean Rev James Matarazzo, Europe & Central Asia The Rev’d Canon Dr. Gideon Byamugisha; Co-opted member
  • New INERELA+ Posters for the International AIDS Conference
    July 3, 2012
    Thanks to our friend Dean Russell (dean-russell.co.uk) we have wonderful new posters to display at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Check them out!        Click here to download a PDF containing all the posters
  • INERELA+ Announces Search for Executive Director
    July 2, 2012
    INERELA+ (International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally affected by HIV and AIDS) invites applications for the position of Executive Director. INERELA+ is a network of religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS founded and based in Africa which has recently expanded into in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The INERELA+ Executive Director will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will oversee the Network’s administration and operations. Job description: The successful candidate will be responsible for: Strategic vision and leadership in producing sound strategies for actions based on  local epidemic contexts; General and sensitive management of a large international team Financial oversight The overall implementation of INERELA+ program activities In addition the INERELA+ Executive Director will provide leadership to the African Faith Based Consortium on HIV (Including ANHERTHA, CUAHA, EHAIA, INERELA+, Islamic Relief and PACANet.) The INERELA+ Executive Director also leads the responses of MASEGO, a project of INERELA+, in partnership with FEW, Health4Men, Refugee Group and SOHACA. Maintain and develop relationships with partner and donor organisations Strengthen links with other PLHIV networks The successful candidate must: Have at least 7 years of progressive technical expertise in the field of HIV, 3 of which must have been spent at a Senior Managerial level with an international organization, Have an advanced degree in Public/Business Administration or a Development-related field (or equivalent experience) is desirable. Demonstrate large project management and change management skills and the ability to skilfully balance the demands of a wide range of faith constituents. Have proven management, organisation, communications and presentation skills; Have financial management skills including budgeting, performance monitoring and cost-effectiveness evaluation, Strong computer literacy skills. Excellent written and spoken English Fluency in English is required and ability with one or more United Nations official languages other than English (French, Spanish) as well as Portuguese is desirable. Strong networking and interpersonal skills are a must. Ability to work in a multi-faith setting Ability to work with and advocate for MARPS Strong contacts and engagement with donors and resource Partners Ability to travel Recognition as a religious leader by a world faith with ordained standing, lay leadership or equivalent will be an added advantage but not a requirement. We strongly encourage applications from people openly living with HIV, particularly Religious Leaders. The Closing Date for Receiving Applications is 17th July 2012 extended to 24 September 2012.  For more information, visit inerela.org/about-us/vacancies. Applicants should submit a motivation letter addressing the required qualifications, a current CV, and the names and contact information of at least three references. Applications should be addressed to: The Chairperson of the Board at the following email address info@inerela.org. INERELA+ is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.
  • Ten-minute Summary Video from Global Working Group on Faith, SSDDIM and HIV
    January 19, 2012
    On September 25th to 29th, 2011 INERELA+ was proud to host over 60 delegates from across Africa, the Americas, and Asia in Cape Town, South Africa for the 5th Global Working Group (GWG) on Faith, SSDDIM and HIV. The multi-faith gathering met to discuss the GWG strategic plan and how to continue working and collaborating on HIV strategies and the issues that drive it. The following video condenses a four day conference into ten minutes. Thanks to Taylor Made Productions (www.taylormadeproductions.co.za) for producing this video.
  • Declaration and Statement from ICAAP 10
    August 30, 2011
    We the participants of the Interfaith pre conference to the ICAAP10 2011, hereby declare its unconditional support and conviction in the belief that Faith must be made more visible and active in the response to HIV and AIDS and to reverse the effects of this global pandemic. For three decades now, HIV has continued to spread across all levels of our societies, creating stigma and discrimination that is fueled by ignorance, injustice, denial and hate. All of these are  against the teachings of our faiths. The members of the Interfaith Pre-conference have come together to challenge and overcome every iota of negativity associated with HIV and instead bring about a worldwide climate of positivity that will lead to Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and  Zero Stigma & Discrimination. Some of the methods to bring about these changes are as follows: Different faith leaders and other members have highly recommended using the holistic prevention strategy called SAVE (S-Safer Practices. A-Access to Treatment. V-Voluntary Counseling and Testing. E-Empowerment). We identified the need to be trained on using the SAVE Toolkit and to applying the SAVE methodology in our respective countries and communities, so that HIV competent faith communities may be further expanded. Members of the conference heard with great concern the vulnerabilities experienced by people from key populations in relation to HIV. This led to a greater determination in eradicating stigma & discrimination and creating safe spaces for education and awareness on sexuality and gender, with a commitment to continue dialogue with key populations, so that all challenges can be overcome and oppressive systems of power within and outside of religious communities would be challenged. Faith based Advocacy, Networking and Support for Key affected and vulnerable populations (such as People living with HIV, MSM, People who use injecting drugs, Transgenders, Sex workers, Migrants, Human Trafficking, women, children and populations living below the poverty line) were confirmed by the participants of the Pre -conference and that all interfaith leaders would take this to the next level by involving local, national, regional and global decision makers. Universal access to prevention, treatment care and support are also being influenced by unjust trade agreements. Life saving medication and diagnostic procedures should not be at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies particularly in the knowledge that Antiretrovirals (ARVs) are effective in preventing HIV transmission. Intellectual property rights regimes need to address the survival needs of people who are affected and infected by life threatening diseases. We the members pledge spiritual support and action based on the belief that love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy cannot be separated from people living with HIV. The challenges arising out of HIV  need to be addressed  not with anger, violence and hate, but with a deep faith and a deeper love. We agree to share our  experiences, approaches and expertise to reach the common goal of Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and  Zero Stigma & Discrimination.
  • In Africa, a step backward on human rights – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
    March 30, 2010
    Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity. It is time to stand up against another wrong. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded. Uganda’s parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been debated in Rwanda and Burundi. These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa. Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear. And they are living in hiding — away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. Show me where Christ said “Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones.” Gay people, too, are made in my God’s image. I would never worship a homophobic God. “But they are sinners,” I can hear the preachers and politicians say. “They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished.” My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love ...
  • Time for positive action in Uganda: Stop discriminatory anti-homosexuality billress releases
    March 30, 2010
    The Ugandan Government should show leadership on HIV prevention and the protection of human rights by rejecting the anti-homosexuality bill which has been tabled in the Ugandan parliament. Acknowledging the existence of gay and lesbian people in Uganda, and providing supportive measures to assist men and women in same sex relationships to make informed choices in their sexual health (i) is the only responsible way forward in the HIV prevention (ii) urge the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), the AIDS Law Project, South Africa (ALP), the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) and the International Network of Religious Leaders living with and affected by HIV (INERELA+). A controversial anti-homosexuality bill has been tabled before the Ugandan Parliament. Its provisions include a life sentence for people who are guilty of “the act of homosexuality”, and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, where living with HIV is an aggravating factor. In addition, organizations that “promote homosexuality” can have their registration removed and their directors imprisoned for up to 7 years. According to ARASA, ALP, GNP+ and INERELA+, the proposed bill – if enacted into law – will threaten the achievements of Uganda in its response to HIV over the last 25 years, and as such goes against its purported aim of protecting the Ugandan people. The law will violate basic human rights, including the rights of people in same sex relations, especially those living with HIV. It will not only undermine proven prevention, treatment and care efforts targeted at vulnerable populations such as men who have sex with men, but will also place them at greater risk (iii). Contrary to the provisions of Uganda’s own Constitution, in criminalising sexual acts between same sex consenting adults, the Bill threatens to violate individuals’ rights to equality, autonomy, bodily integrity and privacy (iv) “Provisions in the Bill that make it an offence to ‘promote’ homosexuality place unacceptable limitations on the rights to freedom of expression and association,” stated Michaela Clayton, Director of ARASA : “The Bill will effectively allow the government to shut down civil society organizations and media houses that engage in any activities that are deemed to support ‘homosexuality and related activities’.” The Bill will have direct democratic and public health effects. Civil society organizations will no longer be able to legally advocate for the rights of or even disseminate health information for men and women engaging in same sex relations. Criminalizing most-at-risk populations such as men and women in same sex relations, hinders HIV prevention by denying people education, methods and tools to practice safer sex, and might potentially amplify the epidemic in the general population (v) “Enactment of this anti-homosexuality Bill will have a negative impact on HIV prevention, treatment and care efforts in Uganda, and risk the results of billions of dollars invested in the Ugandan HIV response,“ said Kevin Moody, International Coordinator and CEO of GNP+. “As such the bill is a slap in the face of Ugandans responding to the epidemic and donors funding the Ugandan HIV response.” “Criminalizing homosexuality ...
  • Statement from our Patron, His Grace, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
    September 30, 2009
    Facing one of the biggest challenges either the world or faith communities have faced demands a unique approach.  HIV is running away with us because we have tried all the old responses to something that exposes our weaknesses rather than our strength.  The only long term approach to HIV interventions that can be effective is working with rather than for people living with HIV today. We have to turn off the tap on new infections.  Current monies pledged to HIV interventions cannot provide all the services we need today, let alone contain the spread of HIV.  Judgmental attitudes from faith communities in regards to HIV and HIV transmission serves only to drive people living with HIV further into the margins where services become difficult to access,  and the pandemic is driven underground.  I support strongly the 50 by 15 campaign (50% reduction in HIV transmission by 2015), but to achieve it bold new partnerships and approaches will be needed. Targeted prevention like abstinence only will never be as effective as an holistic approach like INERELA+’s SAVE strategy. (Safer practices, Available medical intervention, Vct and Empowerment)I believe a network like INERELA+, religious leaders living with HIV and working from that experience, is uniquely placed to make a meaningful difference through a more holistic approach to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support – faith leaders living with HIV controlling HIV in their own lives and their communities.
  • INERELA+ announce the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu as their new Patron
    September 29, 2009
    INERELA+ announce the Most Reverend Desmon Tutu as their new parton We are pleased to announce INERELA+’s new Patron: the Most Reverend Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town. Born 7 October 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu is an internationally renowned religious leader and human rights activist who rose to worldwide prominence during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. Ordained an Anglican priest in 1960, he served as Bishop of Lesotho, and then Bishop of Johannesburg, before he was elected the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa in 1986. Bishop Tutu chaired South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  He is a tireless defender of human rights and has campaigned for the oppressed and marginalized worldwide. In 1984, he became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize The first recipient, in 1986, of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, Bishop Tutu was also appointed a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur by France, as well as Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is a recipient of the German Order of Merit Grand Cross, the Sydney Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the King Hussein Prize and the Marion Doenhoff Prize for International Reconciliation and Understanding. He has received numerous doctorates and fellowships, and is the author of a number of books. Bishop Tutu is also an indefatigable campaigner for an effective global response to the HIV pandemic. A vocal advocate for the rights of people living with HIV, he has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance, and in 2003, he founded the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. “Those… who work to care for people suffering from AIDS and TB are wiping a tear from God’s eye,” he said in 2005. When the UN released statistics in 2007 that indicated that the number of HIV infections worldwide was lower than previously thought, Bishop Tutu commented that these numbers were no more than “cold comfort” in light of the fact that that 600 people die of AIDS everyday in South Africa alone. INERELA+ is proud to have the support and endorsement of such a remarkable patron.    
  • IAC Press Release
    September 29, 2009
    IAC Press release INERELA+ is to be formally launched at the International Aids Conference being held in Mexico city. Beyond the launch INERELA+ will maintain a strong presence at the conference. We have a stall in the main exhibit area and we will be hosting a series of events and activities that we hope will enable us to establish contact with representatives from faith communities the world over: Celebration to mark the 5 years of ANERELA+ and the launch of INERELA+7 pm, 2 August, Salon Veracruz, Fiesta Americana Reforma Hotel An evening of celebration on 2 August marking the formal launch of INERELA+ and celebrating the five year anniversary of ANERELA+. This special pre conference event shall be attended by those organizations that have made the launch of INERELA+ possible through their on going support and guidance including GNP+ ICW WCC, EAA, WCRP, UNAIDS and AJWS. Summit of Religious Leaders Living with HIV.1-4pm , 3 August, Salon Jalisco, Fiesta Americana Reforma Hotel A summit aiming to establish clear paths forward for religious leaders living with HIV in the global response to the pandemic. This session will look at overcoming stigma and discrimination, living positively with HIV and mobilising and empowering faith communities. Latin American and Caribbean Interfaith responses to HIV.5 Aug, 2.15pm – 3.45pm, Global Village, Session room 2, Centro Banamex. Code: TUGS07 A joint session lead in partnership with the EAA, this meeting will serve as an initial opportunity to connect with religious leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Particular attention will be paid on working with leaders from the region’s indigenous and African Diaspora faiths. It is hoped that these initial contacts will come together to support the INERELA+ network in the Americas region. Satellite meeting – GIPFA Greater Involvement of People of Faith Living with HIV Skills6 August, 6.30pm – 8.30pm Building Room 10, Centro Banamex. Code: WESAT27 This session aims to further highlight the launch and presence of INERELA+ to the community of the International AIDS Conference. This event examines multi-faith responses to HIV whilst discussing how INERELA+ plans to move forward. Two moderated panels of religious leaders will be formed; the first composed of religious leaders representing the mainline, indigenous and Afro-Diasporic faiths of the Americas, the second composed of religious leaders from the major world faiths.  
  • INERELA+ member wins Red Ribbon Award at International Aids Conference.
    September 29, 2009
    INERELA+ member wins Red Ribbon Award at International Aids Conference At the 2008 International Aids conference hosted in Mexico City, INERELA+ member Regina Molokomme, representing INERELA+ South Africa, collected a prestigious Red Ribbon Award  for their community based work in fighting HIV/ AIDS. Commenting on their success Regina stated: “I can truly say the award came as a huge surprise to me as an individual but it proves that ordinary people doing extraordinary things” Regina first contact with the INERELA+ Family was at a SANERELA+ retreat in 2005.  Regina recalls “the feeling that reeled through my soul after members shared their HIV status. As I was the personally affected, I had fought in ways to adders the stigma I had suffered as an individual on the loss of my parents. This initial meeting changed my entire perspective and life has never been the same to this day.”    
  • ANERELA+ to become INERELA+
    September 29, 2009
    ANERELA+ to become INERELA+ Upon the 4th of September 2008 the AGM of ANERELA+ was held in Lusaka, Zambia. This AGM was special as it celebrated both  the 5th anniversary of the launch  of ANERELA+ but also celebrated the successful launch in Mexico City of its international expansion INERELA+.  Indeed, such was the level of excitement surrounding this new international network that it was announced that  ANERELA+ and INERELA+, after a period of informed  consultation, shall become a single entity. This move represents a positive step  in forwarding the network,   as it recognises the extraordinary growth that ANERELA+ has achieved in Africa and demonstrates the networks ambition to spread its message of hope globally.