Mmegi Online :: Government Frustrates BONELA
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Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Government Frustrates BONELA

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) is frustrated at government's reluctance to adopt the model law on HIV/AIDS proposed by the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) last year.
By Bame Piet
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Government Frustrates BONELA








Speaking to Monitor on Friday, BONELA acting director, Uyapo Ndadi said there has been no attempt by government to debate the law or at least to make other laws compliant with it. He wondered what happened to the outcome of the consultation process some MPs started in 2007 on HIV/AIDS law in Botswana. "Government is silent on it despite having made a promise that the report will be availed within 90 days after the consultation," he said.

The SADC-PF model law seeks to protect people living with HIV/AIDS from any form of discrimination. It gives NGOs the power to institute legal action for and on behalf of a person living with or are affected by HIV even if that person is not a member of such organisations. The proposed law requires people living with HIV/AIDS to undergo training to ensure self-reliance and meaningful participation in the design and implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes at national and community level.

The law proposes punishment for any person who discloses the HIV status of another without permission. More importantly, it proposes the establishment of a HIV Tribunal by the government. The tribunal will hear and determine complaints arising from

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any breach of the provisions of the model law. It will hear and determine any matter or appeal and perform such other functions as may be conferred upon it by the law.

Ndadi said it will be a good idea to have a court with people who appreciate the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. He stated that currently, there are shortcomings in the judicial system in dealing with HIV/AIDS. He said that some countries have modified their laws to align them with the model law. He said that even Zimbabwe has a friendly HIV/AIDS law passed in 1998. "Many countries in the region are complying with the law but Botswana is still lagging behind. In fact Botswana laws are inconsistent with the model law because it is discriminatory," he said. He cited the requirement in Botswana that people charged with rape should undergo HIV testing and if found to be positive, they are given five extra years in addition to the minimum of 10 years for rape. If it is discovered that the person knew about his or her status before the rape, they get 20 years. "This is discriminatory," Ndadi said.

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