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Robert Carr, Dead at 48. A Caribbean HIV Champion Passes On

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When Mr Peter Carr and Mrs June Carr , and the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) announced the passing of Dr Robert Carr today, Tuesday 10th May, 2011, it meant that the Caribbean had lost one of its very brave sons, a great leader of the Human Rights Movement in the region and a bright and visionary soldier. Dr Robert Carr, son, brother, uncle, friend and colleague, was born on 23rd Februay, 1963.

Dr Carr was founder of the CVC and acted as its first Executive Director until his move to Toronto, Canada, where he worked as Director of Policy and Advocacy with the International Council of AIDS Service Organisations (ICASO), until his passing. He also served as Executive Director of the Jamaica AIDS support from 2002 to 2005.

Dr Carr also served on various UNAIDS reference groups, both regionally and internationally. To quote Dr Ernest Massiah, Director of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team " Robert Carr was daring. He was nuanced; he understood Caribbean foibles and mannerisms . He refused to accept the region's intolerance and stigma. And with great eloquence, wit, and devastating analytical insights, he sought to raise the bar for the Caribbean. He was my friend."

The Executive Director of CVC, Mr Ian Mc Knight, issued an announcement which said "For more than a decade, Dr Carr dedicated his life to bringing to public attention issues related to stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS." In addition, he taught at the University of the West Indies, serving as the coordinator of the Graduate Programmes Unit of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) from 2006 to 2008.

As a Social Worker and Academic, Dr Carr published numerous scholarly articles and made scores of presentations in the Caribbean and internationally on human rights and HIV as well as on the social context that drives the stigma associated with the disease.

Tributes have started to pour in from here in the Caribbbean and around the world in honour of Dr Carr. In all, there is a consistent message.

Ms Robert Clarke, Regional Programme Director, Caribbean Office, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment ( UN WOMEN), writes " This is so sad. Robert was that person in our world of developmental work who brought people and interests together, who understood the importance of addressing inequalities,  the importance of empathy, respect and thought. "

Ms Clarke continues " In his life he gave generously of time and talents , of which he was well-endowed. UNIFEM, as we then were, was a major recipient of Robert's generosity, of his wisdom, and of his communitarian spirit. There is much to be said about Robert and more to learn from how he lived his life. To those most close to him, know that Robert was well, well lofed, his work valued and his commitment, an inspiration"

Dr Michel de Groulard of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team, says " I cant believe it. This is totally devastating . Robert was my friend, and for the past many years , he and I have been in contact almost on a daily basis. I lost a great friend and a great champion for the Caribbean. His work for advancing human rights and issues of vulnerable communities is immense, but unfinished. He is leaving a huge void in the region, and I am going to miss him every day. Let's keep him alive."

Another UNAIDS Caribbean Team Member, Dr Bilali Camara, is clear " Indeed the Caribbean has lost one of its very brave sons. Robert was a great leader of the Human Rights movement in the Caribbean and a bright and visionary soldier. Just a few weeks ago we were asking ourselves , when will Robert come back to the region because his absence is very much felt. Robert is a champion of the cuse; his death makes me remember other champions who have left us, like Godfrey Sealey and Geoffrey Stanforde (Tinidad and Tobago); Kerwin Jarvis ( Antigua and Barbuda); Michel Fox ( Bermuda ); Keith Andre Sobryan ( Guyana), Barrington Wint and Dorothy Blake  ( Jamaica). Please let us celebrate their lives forever."

To have your tributes published on this website, kindly email Cheryl O'Neil , UNAIDS Caribbean, at oneilc@unaids.org.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.