(Kampala) Today civil society organizations reacted to the ruling by the Appeals Court to overturn the sentence and conviction of Rosemary Namubiru. Namubiru, a 64 year old HIV positive nurse who committed a workplace error and accidentally exposed a 2 year old patient to her blood. In what was criticized as a highly biased and prejudicial trial where lies and distortions by the media—in particular completely unproven allegations that she intentionally exposed her patient to HIV—undoubtedly shaped the actions of the Magistrate hearing the case, Namubiru was convicted of ‘criminal negligence,’ and sentenced to three years in prison. “We are grateful that Court has made the right decision today. Namubiru never should have received the punishment that was handed down, and Court has affirmed this. While a workplace error was committed, this does not make Namubiru a criminal, and the distortions and attacks by media have ruined her life. This ruling has given her some measure of justice.” Uganda is virtually the only country in East and Southern Africa where HIV incidence is on the rise among adults—other countries are recording marked declines. Experts point to stigmatizing laws and policies as contributing factors, undermining the national response. A 2014 study of HIV in Uganda reports that levels of HIV related stigma have increased in recent years. Civil society groups point to Namubiru’s case, as well as the passage into law of the HIV Prevention and Control Act, a new law on HIV emphasizes criminalization, despite evidence that criminalization is not an effective response to HIV. “Despite our missteps as a country in the response to HIV, today the Judiciary has done something positive for the response to HIV in Uganda.” Source: International Community of Women Living with HIV & AIDS Eastern Africa
Civil Society reacts to the release of Nurse Rosemary Namubiru
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