HIV-Positive People Called To Report Discrimination
The Saudi Arabian National Human Rights Society recently called onHIV-positive people in the country to report any discrimination theyexperience from employers or the public, the Arab Newsreports. The call, which also asks HIV-positive people to registertheir cases with the society, is part of the group's effort to gatherinformation on the treatment of people living with the disease, the Newsreports. The appeal comes ahead of the expected announcement in Marchof draft legislation that will establish a patient's bill of rights forHIV-positive people (Qusti, Arab News, 1/2)
Thesociety in August 2007 published on its Web site recommendations for apatient's bill of rights for HIV-positive people in an effort toencourage the government to establish a set of regulations to handleHIV/AIDS. The recommendations consist of 16 articles and call on thegovernment to develop HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns to ensure thatpeople living with the disease are treated fairly. They also urge thegovernment to establish a national AIDS center to collect data on HIVprevalence in the country.
The society has suggested a fine of5,000 Saudi riyals, or about $1,300, and up to three years in prisonfor individuals who discriminate against HIV-positive people by firingthem or expelling them from schools. The recommendations state thatHIV-positive Saudis should be guaranteed job security unless theypurposefully have attempted to spread the virus. Employers should offeranother position to HIV-positive people whose jobs pose risks to otheremployees, according to the society. If it is not possible to transferthe person to another position, the employer should lay off theHIV-positive person and provide a severance package of two-thirds ofhis or her annual salary, the recommendations state. Therecommendations were developed at a series of workshops and meetingswith HIV-positive people living in Saudi Arabia and their doctors, NHRSPresident Bandar Al-Hajjar said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/6/07).
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