Human Rights groups condemn deportation of HIV-positive migrants

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- National governments, in cooperation with international agencies and donors, should reconsider their decision to deport people living wi t h HIV/AIDS, human rights groups said.
A report, released Thursday by four HIV/AIDS and human rights groups, describes cases in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, and t he US, in which HIV-positive migrants were deported, saying that there was the n e ed to develop policies guaranteeing uninterrupted treatment for this class of pe o ple.
The report, titled â?Returned to Risk: Deportation of HIV-Positive Migrants", w as prepared by Human Rights Watch, Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe, the European AIDS Treatm e nt Group, and the African HIV Policy Network.
â?Migrants living with HIV are often explicitly excluded from treatment,â? sai d Katherine Todrys, Researcher with the Health and Human Rights Division at Huma n Rights Watch.
â?If they are detained, they are often denied access to antiretroviral drugs, a nd then if deported they canâ?t get care,â? she said.
The groups called on governments and donors to ensure that HIV-positive migrants had access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy when detained and to ensure th a t, if deported, migrants are able to maintain access to treatment and care.
According to the report, many countries fail to provide treatment for migrants l iving with HIV in immigration detention, saying that the lack of continuity of t r eatment for migrants could lead to illness, premature death, or the development o f drug resistance.
â?Rather than protecting HIV-positive migrants from return to countries where t reatment is unavailable, some countries are in fact deporting migrants because o f their HIV status,â? said Peter Wiessner, of Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe.
Citing South Africa, the report says the inability to continue treatment, amount s to a death sentence â" for people living with HIV who are sent back to Zimbabw e.
In the US, the report charges that there is poor access to treatment in detentio n and harsh conditions or lack of access to medical treatment for some HIV-posit i ve individuals.
â?Governments have committed themselves to the goal of universal access to HIV treatment for all who need it by 2010,â? said Titise Kode of the African HIV Pol icy Network.
â?But with 192 million people â" or 3 per cent of the worldâ?s po pulation â" living outside their places of birth, ensuring migrantsâ? and depor teesâ? access to HIV treatment is absolutely essential to meeting this goal.
â? The report called on governments to ensure that HIV-positive individuals, awaiti ng deportation, had access to treatment and to re-examine the practice of deport i ng HIV-positive individuals to countries where treatment and social support stru c tures are inadequate.

24 Setembro 2009 14:12:00

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