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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU condemns HIV ban

15 October 2003

The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the government's decision to ban the deployment of soldiers who are HIV-positive on United Nations missions. COSATU believes that HIV status alone is insufficient grounds for medical exclusion from em ployment. With a healthy diet and, when necessary, antiretroviral treatment, HIV-positive people can live long and active lives and should not regarded as sick or disabled.

This decision is a serious setback in the campaign to end the stigmatisation of people living with HIV. It will further discourage people from being open about their infection and thus make it harder to implement a national treatment and prevention plan.

The government's decision is also probably unconstitutional because it violates its anti-discrimination clause. The South African constitution has to take precedence over UN regulations, which are being used to justify this decision. COSATU will support moves to challenge the decision in the courts and reaffirms its support for a policy of non- discrimination against people living with HIV.

Patrick Craven
Acting COSATU Spokesperson

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