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On Human Rights Day NAT speaks out against employment discrimination

Friday, December 10, 2010

On Human Rights Day 2010 – the theme ‘human rights defenders who act to end discrimination’ – NAT calls for the Government to respect the right to work of all people with HIV in the UK.  The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises at Article 6 the right to work, and at Article 2 that the right must be exercised without discrimination.

NAT’s Working with HIV survey shows over half (58%) of gay men with HIV said being HIV positive had no impact on their working life, which is mainly due to the vast improvements in treatment.  However, the stigma surrounding HIV still creates barriers in the workplace. Nearly half (40%) off respondents had not disclosed their HIV status to their employer and a third either faced or feared a negative reaction to disclosure.  Furthermore, a fifth of respondents who had disclosed their HIV positive status at work had experienced discrimination in their current or previous job.  

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:

‘Unfortunately discrimination and stigma in the workplace has been – and still are – a very real issue for people living with HIV.  Some positive steps have been made; notably the increased legal protection against discrimination in employment through the recent Equality Act.  However, within weeks of this coming into force the Government announced cuts to legal aid for employment tribunal cases.  This will mean people with HIV have a right not to be discriminated against, but those with limited incomes – the vast majority – will have no means to secure legal redress. 

‘In addition, asylum seekers who have been in the UK for six months should have the right to employment.  This will free up state funds otherwise paid in benefits, enable the individuals to enjoy the physical, mental and material benefits of work and contribute to society and the economy.  It would also support their human right to work.

 - Ends -

Notes to the editor:

Download the report Working with HIV

For further information on Human Rights Day, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/2010/

For further information please contact:
Charli Scouller
Communications Manager
NAT
020 7814 6733
press@nat.org.uk
 
NAT
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
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www.nat.org.uk