24 Sep 2003

Fiji NGOs oppose government plans for compulsory HIV/AIDS tests

10:15 am on 24 September 2003

Non-governmental organisations in Fiji are objecting to government plans to introduce compulsory HIV tests.

The Human Rights Commission says other NGOs back its call to stop a mandatory HIV/AIDS testing programme.

It says such testing will violate Fiji's constitutional laws on human rights.

The Commission says every person has the right to freedom from scientific or medical treatment or procedures without his or her informed consent.

Its director, Doctor Shastia Shameem, says the government is fearful the disease may get out of control in the country, where there are at least one-thousand carriers.

She says that behind the issue is a fear that with the small population, there

might be an outbreak that it will not be able to manage.

Doctor Shastia Shameem says compulsory testing may be one of the government's ideas for monitoring.