MADAGASCAR: A mixed blessing, mine to bring development and HIV/AIDS
JOHANNESBURG, 4 November 2005 (PlusNews) - Madagascar has opted out of screening immigrating South African mineworkers for HIV/AIDS, citing human rights issues as a motivation.
Jean Chrysostome Rakotoary, director-general of the country's National Office of the Environment, told BBC radio that screening would be "discriminatory and against the principles of human rights to which the government is committed."
This was despite fears that an upcoming mining project by Qit-Fer Madagascar Minerals, a subsidiary of international mining giant Rio Tintoa, in the island nation could serve as a Trojon horse for moving the pandemic from already hard-hit South Africa.
Although other sexually transmitted infections are common in Madagascar, the island is estimated to have a relatively low HIV of under 2 percent, a small fraction of the rates in neighbouring African countries.