In Memoriam of Martine de Schutter.
We mourn over the loss of our dear colleague Martine de Schutter.
Martine was on board of the MH 17 which crashed on Thursday 17 July 2014. She was on her way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. This time, not as Executive Coordinator of Aids Action Europe, as she had recently changed positions within STI Netherlands – Aids Fonds – STOP AIDS NOW!. From 2004 until 2014, Martine was the Executive Coordinator of Aids Action Europe. It was under her leadership that this network became an important advocacy player within the European region. She was the driving force behind the HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum and ensured that relevant topics were discussed in order to keep HIV and AIDS on the European political agenda. Due in part to her commitment, AIDS Action Europe grew into a network with over 400 members. Because of her professionalism, AIDS Action Europe became leading in sharing publications, best practices and other crucial information for the work of HIV/AIDS organizations in Europe and Central Asia.
Martine was a people manager and built strong relationships with her colleagues. She created a comfortable working environment for every Steering Committee and office member. Together with the AIDS Action Europe office, she prepared every meeting in detail. Mainly because of her warm-hearted, friendly and collegial attitude, the office members completed their work with a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. To achieve the best possible results, she worked extremely effectively, efficiently, and with an eye for detail. Martine could not stand injustice and fought for equity for all groups in society. Her last initiative, the European HIV Legal Forum, to advocate for the right to access of healthcare for illegal immigrants is a good example of this.
Martine had the wonderful skill of linking and bringing people together: not only for work related issues, but also on a personal level. She was open in sharing information about her personal life and family. That is how we all knew about her son and how much she loved him. And that is how we will miss Martine, not only as a colleague, but also as a friend. We have lost a monumental contributor to the fight against HIV.
Our condolences for Martine’s family, our thoughts and mind are with them.