Botswana: Foreign prisoners win ARV court case in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana (PANA) - A court in Botswana Friday ordered the government to provide anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to imprisoned foreigners in the country living with HIV, at state expense.

The judgement came after two such foreigners and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) challenged government’s policy of denying ARV treatment to foreign prisoners.

“This court decision has affirmed that the government is legally obligated to immediately provide life-saving ARV treatment to foreign prisoners living with HIV. The court further affirmed that providing ARV treatment to all prisoners who need it is critical to effectively addressing HIV,” said Cindy Kelemi, Executive Director of BONELA.

The court held that the denial of ARV treatment to foreign prisoners violated their constitutional rights, and rejected the government’s argument that it did not have adequate funds to provide non-citizen prisoners with ARV treatment

Meanwhile, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which provided assistance in the case, has also applauded the court’s decision.

“This landmark decision not only makes clear Botswana’s legal obligations with respect to providing access to ARV treatment, but also confirms that government cannot just argue that it is too expensive, they must provide evidence to support such an argument, which they did not do in this matter,” said Priti Patel of SALC.
-O- PANA DRW/SEG 22Aug2014

22 august 2014 10:54:16




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