CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Seminar to draw up draft bill on rights, obligations of HIV/AIDS patients
Eugenie Yarafa, secretary-general of the Reseau Centrafricain sur l’Ethique, le Droit et le VIH/SID.
BANGUI, 22 January (PLUSNEWS) - A three-day seminar opened on Wednesday in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, to debate the adoption of a draft bill of law on the rights and obligations of HIV-positive people.
"The seminar aims at drafting an instrument that can protect both HIV-positive people and the society they live in," Eugenie Yarafa, secretary-general of the HIV/AIDs organisation, the Reseau Centrafricain sur l’Ethique, le Droit et le VIH/SIDA, told PlusNews on Wednesday.
Seminar participants include lawyers, medical doctors, magistrates, social workers and members of the National Transitional Council, the country's law advisory body. The seminar was organised by the HIV/AIDS organisation in conjunction with the UN Development Programme and the national anti-HIV/AIDS body, the Comite National de Lutte contre le Sida.
Yarafa said that a draft that would be adopted at the end of the seminar would be forwarded to Justice Minister Hyacinth Wodobode for presentation to the NTC for approval, before enactment by CAR leader Francois Bozize.
"Magistrates encounter serious problems while handling HIV-related cases," Yarafa said.
She added that some of the cases involved AIDS orphans and the issue of their inheritance. She said that if adopted, the new legislation would provide for sanctions against people who knowingly infect others with the HIV virus. Moreover, she said, the draft bill would emphasis the protection of HIV-positive people’s rights to treatment, education, employment and others.
"The document is strongly opposed to stigmatisation and discrimination targeting HIV-infected people," Yarafa said.