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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Al Jazeera and Qatar come under attack for HIV discrimination policy

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Section27, a South African watchdog group, has accused Al Jazeera and its host state Qatar of human rights abuses against people living with HIV.

In specific, the group calls out an incident involving a South African journalist who joined Al Jazeera as a senior editor in October 2010 and relocated to Doha. Within three months, he reportedly found himself chased out of a Doha clinic, briefly imprisoned, gratuitously searched, and then fired and ordered to leave the country.

All of this occured, Section27 says, without anyone informing the journalist – identified only as MR – that he had HIV, and that it was the reason for the abuse and termination he suffered.

Qatar currently has a policy to deny visas and/or work permits to those who are HIV positive, and a test for it is part of required medical screening to obtain residency.

Says Section27:

“These violations are contrary to key principles of South Africa’s own response to HIV as well as well as the strategy of the leading United Nations body dealing with HIV…”

“Qatar’s policies also deepen the stigma attached to HIV status.” 

The group is currently asking South Africa to take the issue to the International Labour Organization, in the hopes of launching an investigation.

What do you think, is Qatar’s HIV policy fair?

Credit: Photo by Joi Ito

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