News / Health

Lawmakers, UN Call for End to Travel Restrictions on HIV-Positive People

Ron Corben

Parliamentarians from more than 100 countries have called for the lifting of travel restrictions for people living with HIV or AIDS.  The call to lift the bans came on the first day of meetings by the Inter-parliamentary Union in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The call to end travel restrictions on people with AIDS or the AIDS virus was made jointly between the 120 country Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNAIDS to target more than 50 countries worldwide.

In the Asia-Pacific region, 15 nations or territories apply restrictions, including Australia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and New Zealand.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNAIDS also called for parliamentarians to back legislation and law enforcement to protect people living with HIV from discrimination based on their HIV status.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michele Sidibe says the parliamentarians' influence could play a key role in the removal of the discriminatory laws and restrictions.

"What we are calling for with the Inter-parliamentary Union is not a specific right - what we are calling for is the right we all enjoy when we are traveling from one place to another," explained Sidibe.  "And we consider that this movement could help us to remove those bans in 52 countries today in the world."

Sidibe said the travel restrictions are "outdated" in the age of universal access to HIV prevention and treatment.

Restrictions range from complete bans on the entry of HIV-positive people, to bans on short stays as tourists, and bans on immigrants to work, seek asylum, or study.

Indonesian AIDS Activist Suksma Ratri
Indonesian AIDS Activist Suksma Ratri

HIV-positive Indonesian AIDS-activist Suksma Ratri lives in Malaysia.  She says she is forced to leave Malaysia when seeking medical treatment, having been refused access to medical services there.  She says such restrictions represent a violation of human rights.

"Banning people living with HIV, such as me, from entering certain countries is certainly a violation of basic human rights," she noted.  "And that fallacy also does not even fit the public rational about public health because the epidemic is already in the country."

Inter-Parliamentary Union President and speaker of Namibia's National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab says governments need to repeal key laws.

"So the campaign for public education, public awareness is something we must work together at all levels to continue," said Gurirab.  "Stigmatization is still there, there are laws in some countries.  We must as parliamentarians as governments ensure that they are removed from the statutory books."

This year the United States ended a 22-year ban that prevented people with HIV or AIDS from entering the country.

There are currently more than 30 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide having claimed the lives of over 25 million people since 1981.  In the Asia-Pacific region more than five million people are HIV Positive.

You May Like

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are notable part of IS's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs