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Universal Action Now! The XVII International AIDS Conference, 3- 8 AUGUST 2008, Mexico City HIV-RELATED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. Speaker: Elijah Fung Manager St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre. INTERNATIONAL GUIDELINES ON HIV/AIDS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUED IN 1998.
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Universal Action Now! The XVII International AIDS Conference, 3- 8 AUGUST 2008, Mexico CityHIV-RELATED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS Speaker: Elijah Fung Manager St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre
INTERNATIONAL GUIDELINES ON HIV/AIDS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUED IN 1998 • “There is no public health rationale for restricting liberty of movement or choice of residence on the grounds of HIV status…” • Therefore any restrictions on these rights based on suspected or real HIV status alone, including HIV screening of international travelers, are discriminatory and cannot be justified by public health concerns”
HIV-related Travel Restrictions • ⇨ To protect public health • ⇨ To avoid the economic costs of providing health care and social assistance to those affected by HIV and AIDS
HIV + …it shouldn’t make a difference • ⇘ 67 countries impose some form of restrictions on people living with HIV • ⇘ e.g. business, personal or tourism or for a longer period such as employment, asylum or refugee resettlement or study
⇨ Brunei ⇨ China ⇨ Oman ⇨ Qatar ⇨ South Korea ⇨ Sudan ⇨ United Arab Emirates ⇨ United States of America ⇨Yemen 9 countries ban people living with HIV from entering
Countries/areas deny applications for entry by HIV positive people for stays beginning as short as 10 days to 90days • ⇨ Egypt • ⇨ Iraq • ⇨ Singapore • ⇨ Tunisia • ⇨ Turks • ⇨ Caicos Islands
⇨ Armentia ⇨ Bahrain ⇨ Bangladesh ⇨ Brunei ⇨ Bulgaria ⇨ China ⇨ Egypt ⇨Hungary ⇨ Iraq ⇨ Jordan ⇨ Democratic People’s ⇨ Republic of Korea (North Korea) ⇨ Republicof Korea (South Korea) ⇨ Kuwait ⇨ Malaysia ⇨ Moldova ⇨ Mongolia ⇨ Oman ⇨ Qatar ⇨ Russian Federation ⇨ Saudi Arabia ⇨ Singapore ⇨ Sri Lanka ⇨ Sudan ⇨ Syria ⇨ Tajikistan ⇨ Taiwan ⇨ United Arab Emirates ⇨ United States of America ⇨ Uzbekistan ⇨ Yemen Countries deport foreigners once they are discovered to be HIV positive
-continued • USA: since 1987, non-U.S. citizens living with HIV have been banned from entering or transiting through US without a special waiver. • Belgium: Non-European Union nationals intending to study or obtain a work permit must undergo an HIV test by a Beglian-approved doctor in their country of origin. No visas are granted to people who are HIV-positive.
-continued • Russia: No HIV-positive people are allowed entry into the country. Although proof of HIV status is not usually requested for tourist or transit visas, an HIV test is required for stays of longer than three months. If the test is positive, the person is deported.
-continued • South Africa: Tests are required for all mine workers, at all levels of employment in that sector. • United Kingdom: Anyone who does not appear to be in good health may be required to undergo a medical examination (including an HIV test) prior to being granted or denied entry.
“Six decades after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, it is shocking that there should still be discrimination against those at high risk, such stigma attached to individuals living with HIV. This not only drives the virus underground, Where it can spread in the dark; as important, it is an affront To our common humanity…I call for a change in laws that Uphold stigma and discrimination – including restrictions on travel for people living with HIV emphasis added.” Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS, June 2008
“Stigma and discrimination around AIDS remain as strong as ever: and in this context I join my voice with the Secretary General, and I call on all countries to drop restrictions on entry to people simply because they are living with HIV.” Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS, June 2008
IMPACTSOF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS • ⇨ limit mobility and migration in the age of • Globalization • ⇨ hindering positive people from travel to certain countries • ⇨ affecting their work, livelihood and human rights • ⇨ people hide their status and not seek the care they need
“Attitudes and policies such as these [relating to HIV Restrictions on entry, stay and residence] will not Contribute to reaching the goal of Universal Access [to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support]; They will however contribute to increased stigma and Discrimination of people living with HIV… I am Also a person living with HIV, and by revealing my HIV status publicly, I am taking a risk of being banned From entering this country and over seventy other Countries around the world.” Ratri Suksma, Representative from CARAM Asia United Nations High-level Meeting on AIDS, June 2008
What have been done? • In 2007, the International AIDS Society published its official policy position regarding HIV-related restrictions stating that, “The International AIDS Society will not hold its conferences in countries that restrict short term entry of people living with HIV/AIDS and/or require their HIV status on visa application forms of other documentation required for entry into the country”.
- continued • “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will not hold Board or Committee Meetings in countries that restrict short-term entry of people living with HIV/AIDS and / or require prospective HIV positive visitors to declare their HIV status on visa application forms or other documentation required for entry into the country.”
- continued • The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at its 16th meeting (12-12 November 2007) agreed to create an International Task Team on HIV-related Travel Restrictions with the aim of eliminating policies and practices that restrict travel for HIV positive people.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? • ⇨ Raise awareness • ⇨ Reach out to media to cover the issue • ⇨ Advocate with your government • ⇨Pressure the embassies of countries that HIV-related travel laws • ⇨ Don’t hold international conferences in countries with HIV-related travel restrictions