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Sidibe said the travel restrictions are "outdated" in the age of universal access to HIV prevention and treatment.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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs