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On Human Rights Day HIV Charities Speak Out About Deportation

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AHPN and NAT say UK Government's policy is putting lives at risk

Two key UK HIV charities, AHPN (African HIV Policy Network) and NAT (National AIDS Trust), are calling on the Government to use Human Rights Day as an opportunity to review the UK's policy of deporting people diagnosed with HIV in the UK to countries where treatment is not readily available or affordable.

The UK Government signed up to the G8’s pledge of universal access to HIV treatment for all those who need it by 2010. Yet the Government’s policy of deporting people living with HIV without ensuring that treatment will be available and accessible in the destination country, contradicts this commitment. For someone living with HIV the withdrawal or interruption in treatment can be life threatening. 

Titise Kode, Chief Executive of AHPN, comments:

“At an international level the UK government has shown leadership in supporting universal access to treatment for all who need it. But this leadership has not been shown at home where policy of deporting people to countries where treatment is not accessible erodes the rights of HIV positive people and calls into question the government’s commitment to meeting its human rights obligations. 

Every day the AHPN receives accounts from people who fear that a knock at the door will result in them being deported to a country where they won’t have the life-saving treatment and services they need.”

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:

“On Human Rights Day the UK government needs to urgently consider how in the removal process the Government is failing to ensure people receive uninterrupted HIV treatment and appropriate ongoing support, in the UK and in their destination country.

By deporting people living with HIV without ensuring their treatment can continue the Government is ignoring people’s human right to health and ultimately putting lives at risk.”

AHPN’s Destination Unknown campaign is calling on the Home Office to delay the deportation of people living with HIV from the United Kingdom until HIV treatment becomes more widely available and accessible.1

Earlier this year NAT produced the report the Myth of HIV Health Tourism which addressed and refuted allegations of HIV health tourism to the UK, showing there is no evidence to demonstrate that HIV health tourism to the UK exists.2

Notes to the editor:

1- Find out more about AHPN’s Destination Unknown campaign at:
http://www.ahpn.org/campaigns/destinationunknown

2- Download NAT’s Myth of HIV Health Tourism at:
http://www.nat.org.uk/Our-campaigns/People-in-greatest-need/Asylum and migration.aspx [Editor: link no longer available]

For further information please contact:

Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
NAT
020 7814 6733 / 07947 725299
press@nat.org.uk

Edna Soomre
Policy Officer
AHPN
0207 017 8917
edna.soomre@ahpn.org

African HIV Policy Network

The African HIV Policy Network (AHPN) is an alliance of African community-based organisations and their supporters working for fair policies for people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK, providing training, support, research and information. The AHPN is the only African organisation in the UK whose work is dedicated to policy, advocacy and representation at national level. Its major focus is on HIV and the sexual health of Africans in the UK.

www.ahpn.org

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.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.

www.nat.org.uk