Saudi Arabian Human Rights Society Calls on HIV-Positive People To Report Discrimination
The Saudi Arabian National Human Rights Society recently called on HIV-positive people in the country to report any discrimination they experience from employers or the public, the Arab News reports. The call, which also asks HIV-positive people to register their cases with the society, is part of the group's effort to gather information on the treatment of people living with the disease, the News reports. The appeal comes ahead of the expected announcement in March of draft legislation that will establish a patient's bill of rights for HIV-positive people (Qusti, Arab News, 1/2)
The society in August 2007 published on its Web site recommendations for a patient's bill of rights for HIV-positive people in an effort to encourage the government to establish a set of regulations to handle HIV/AIDS. The recommendations consist of 16 articles and call on the government to develop HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns to ensure that people living with the disease are treated fairly. They also urge the government to establish a national AIDS center to collect data on HIV prevalence in the country.
The society has suggested a fine of 5,000 Saudi riyals, or about $1,300, and up to three years in prison for individuals who discriminate against HIV-positive people by firing them or expelling them from schools. The recommendations state that HIV-positive Saudis should be guaranteed job security unless they purposefully have attempted to spread the virus. Employers should offer another position to HIV-positive people whose jobs pose risks to other employees, according to the society. If it is not possible to transfer the person to another position, the employer should lay off the HIV-positive person and provide a severance package of two-thirds of his or her annual salary, the recommendations state. The recommendations were developed at a series of workshops and meetings with HIV-positive people living in Saudi Arabia and their doctors, NHRS President Bandar Al-Hajjar said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/6/07).