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(Oct 08, 2009) It was reported on October 4, 2009, that the Uganda Law Reform Commission is gearing up to present before the Ugandan Parliament the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, which, if passed, would penalize discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and make intentional transmission of the disease to another person a serious offense. (Madinah Tebajjukira, New Bill to Protect People with HIV, THE NEW VISION, Oct. 4, 2009, available at http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/696792.)

The bill makes employment discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS an offense. It specifically states:

A person shall not be denied access to employment [for] which he or she is qualified or transferred, denied promotion or have his/her employment terminated on the ground of his/her actual, perceived or suspected HIV status. (Id.)

The bill also prohibits expulsion of people from school or restriction of their freedom of movement on the basis of their HIV status. It requires that the government provide care and support to people living with HIV. (Id.) Violation of the law, be it by an individual or a company, would be punishable by imprisonment of up to three months and/or a fine of up to UGX500,000 (about US$260). (Id.)

Speaking at a national consultation workshop on the bill, one of a series of consultations that the parliamentary committee on HIV/AIDS is conducting, the chair of the committee, Beatrice Rwakimari, stated that if approved, the bill "will make it mandatory for the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) and other security outfits to employ people living with HIV." At present, the UPDF conducts HIV screening on candidates and excludes individuals with HIV from the recruitment process. (Id.)

The bill makes the intentional transmission of HIV to another person a serious offense punishable, on conviction, by life imprisonment. (Id.) (For information on other African nations criminalizing the intentional transmission of HIV and on the Model Law drafted by 18 African countries on the subject, see Hanibal M. Goitom, Model Law Criminalizing HIV/AIDS Transmission Under Criticism, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Aug. 14, 2009, available at http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_1489_text.)

Author: Hanibal Goitom More by this author
Topic: HIV-AIDS More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Uganda More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 10/08/2009