Ms Hassan is living with HIV and was carrying her HIV and other essential
medicines for her use during her travel. Without any reason given
Ms. Hassan was detained for the night. Her luggage was searched without
justification or her consent, and she was forced to disclose her HIV status
to justify the HIV medication she was carrying. All her medication was
confiscated, and she was forced to undergo an unnecessary medical examination
without her informed consent. After pleading with authorities she was finally
allowed to take her medicine, but continued to be denied water or food
to take it.
The next morning Ms. Hassan was not allowed to continue on to her engagements
at the United Nations in New York, but put on a plane back to Tunis. French
authorities only returned her HIV medications right before her departure
and only after she pleaded for them. The reasons for her forced return
to Tunis, it since transpires, was that she did not possess a transit visa
enabling her to change flights.
Border protection or national security concerns are not carte blanche to compromise
on human rights. Being HIV positive is not a threat to security. As networks
of people living with HIV, GNP+ and ICW, we are particularly concerned
by the rights violations experienced by Ms Hassan including the denial
of medical treatment, denial of food and drink, and nonconsensual medical
procedures. HIV is a manageable long-term condition as long as we take
our medication. Denying our medication is denying our right to health and
right to life.
We call on French and other authorities to ensure that their representatives
are aware of the dangerous impact that denial of medicine can have on the
life and health of people living with HIV. Border security personnel should
be educated about accepted international medical guidelines and human rights.
Ms. Hassan’s treatment is an affront to the justice, equality, and respect
that all citizens of the world deserve.
We regret that Ms. Hassan was not able to speak at the UN this week to share
the experiences and struggles of people living with HIV in her region.
As a result of the actions by the French authorities U.N. member states
have been unable to hear this voice from a region that is often neglected
in the HIV response.
Contact the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) – Martin Stolk,
Senior Communications Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) – Florence
Anam, Advocacy and Communications Manager at email@example.com
GNP+ is the global network for and by people living with HIV. GNP+ uses evidence
based advocacy and community strengthening to improve treatment, rights
and involvement for people living with HIV. Want to know more about our
work? Website: www.gnpplus.net | Facebook: /gnpplus | Twitter: @gnpplus
ICW is the International Community of Women living with HIV. We mobilize, organize
and advocate for a world where all women living with HIV are able to realize
their full sexual, reproductive, legal, social, economic and health rights.
More ICW? Website: www.iamicw.org | Twitter:
@ICW_Global | Facebook