Tuesday, August 31, 2004

China: Law bans Discrimination Legislation

From: Human Rights Watch <hrw-news@topica.email-publisher.com> Reply-To: <webadmin@hrw.org>Subject: China: Law Bans HIV-Related Discrimination Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2004 13:56:59 -0700 China: Law Bans HIV-Related Discrimination Legislation is a step forward, but enforcement and AIDS awareness still needed (New York, August 31, 2004)

China¯s new law banning discrimination against people living with infectious diseases is a much needed step to counter widespread abuses related to HIV status, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to adopt mechanisms to enforce the law and to use public information campaigns to combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. This law is long overdue. Now the Chinese government needs to ensure that violations are effectively monitored and that the law is enforced, said Joanne Csete, director of the HIV/AIDS Program of Human Rights Watch. At the same time, the Chinese authorities need to address the nationwide lack of awareness about AIDS that fuels discrimination. A 2003 report by Human Rights Watch, Locked Doors: the Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS, detailed widespread discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, especially by health care facilities. As a result, many with HIV/AIDS in China live "underground" without access to treatment or care. The new law, passed on Saturday, also reportedly forbids trade in human blood. As many as a million or more subsistence farmers and their families contracted HIV in the 1990s through blood collection centers run by health department officials and their relatives, particularly in the central province of Henan. Communist Party officials in Henan covered up the epidemic for years, harassing protestors and expelling Chinese and international journalists. "No official has been brought to account for the Henan scandal," said Csete. "Instead, some of the officials who profited from the blood scandal and covered up the AIDS crisis in Henan have since been promoted." Human Rights Watch noted that provincial authorities in China continue to detain injection drug users and sex workers without trial. In many cases, the authorities force them to work in labor camps. Both groups are at high risk of HIV transmission. "China's policy of detaining injection drug users and sex workers without trial is merely driving them underground, away from government agencies that might help protect them from HIV," Csete said. To read the Human Rights Watch report Locked Doors: The Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS, please see: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/china0803/

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posted by Sybil Amber at 8/31/2004 08:00:00 PM


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