Nigeria moves to protect PLWAs from discrimination

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua has sent a bill to th e national assembly (parliament) which, if passed into law, will make it an offe n ce to discriminate against any person on the grounds of actual or perceived HIV s tatus.
The bill makes it an offence for employers of labour, religious houses and opera tors of other public places to discriminate against those living with or affecte d by HIV and AIDS.
In addition, no employer shall require a job applicant to disclose his or her HI V status by asking questions, orally or in writing, directly or indirectly on th e disease.
Offenders are liable to a fine of 200,000 naira (US$1,400) or imprisonment not e xceeding one year or both.
``People living with and affected by HIV and AIDS have a right to freedom from d iscrimination on the basis of their HIV status concerning access to and continued employment, conditions of employment, employm ent benefits, comprehensive health services, education and other social services,” the bill said.
It said both employers and employees have a mutual responsibility to prevent dis crimination on the basis of HIV and AIDS in the workplace.
The bill requires every employer to take steps to protect the human rights of pe ople living with and affected by HIV and AIDS by eliminating HIV and AIDS-based discrimination in all employment policies and pra ctices.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of over 140 million people, has an estima ted 4 million PLWAs.

15 may 2009 07:27:00

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