News Release: Botswana Government Ordered to Provide HIV Treatment to Non-Citizen PrisonersPublished on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:32
“This order will not only save the lives of foreign prisoners living with HIV, but it will also help to prevent HIV transmission in prisons.” The two prisoners and BONELA argued that the denial of critical medical treatment to non-citizen prisoners violated their fundamental rights, which were guaranteed under Botswana’s Constitution. In addition, they used current medical evidence to show that not only would their lives be at risk without HIV treatment but that other prisoners would also be at greater risk of contracting HIV and other opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.
“The order will have to be immediately implemented by government and will ensure that the government meets its obligations under the Botswana Constitution and under international and regional law,” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which has been assisting in the matter. “More importantly, it shows that the government has no legitimate justification for putting prisoners’ lives at serious risk by denying them HIV treatment.”
The government, which has been providing free treatment to Botswanan citizens living with HIV in prison, failed to file papers opposing the application by the two prisoners and BONELA, which resulted in the High Court issuing the order.
For more information:
Cindy Kelemi, Executive Director, BONELA: +267 3932516; +267 72385054; firstname.lastname@example.org
Priti Patel, Deputy Director, SALC; +27 11 587 5065; +27 76 808 0505; email@example.com
Source: Souther Africa Litigation Centre