Warrap justice forum discusses rights of people living with HIV

17 Sep 2013

Warrap justice forum discusses rights of people living with HIV

14 September 2013 - Persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have the same rights as everyone else to freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary detention, an UNMISS official said in Warrap State capital Kuajok today.

"It is not a crime to have HIV," said UNMISS Justice Affairs Officer Magnus Andersen during a monthly Rule of Law forum, organized by the UNMISS Justice Advisory Section, the UN Development Programme, the Warrap State High Court and the state government's Legal Administration office.

This month's forum focused on justice for persons living with HIV under the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, the national Penal Code and international legal instruments.

"The police cannot arrest somebody only on suspicion of having HIV," said Mr. Andersen. "Persons living with HIV have the same right to move and settle down as any other person."

UNMISS Human Rights Officer Bernard Mugisha delivered a presentation that highlighted the need for proper medical treatment and the rights of persons living with HIV to access education and jobs.

Twenty-three participants from UN agencies, the South Sudan Prisons Service, the South Sudan National Police Service and non-governmental organizations attended the meeting. A lively debate addressed the importance of breaking the silence about HIV, the human rights of persons living with HIV and the criminalizing of HIV infection.

"Today's forum has contributed to raising awareness about HIV and the rule of law," said Director of Warrap Legal Administration Awad Haroun, who chaired the meeting.

"It is important that we all address these issues in our communities. In that way we can all support the implementation of relevant legislation and unite efforts to provide justice for persons living with HIV," he added.