25 Nov 2008

Lobby group urges New Zealand to speak out against microchipping Papuan AIDS sufferers

12:32 pm on 25 November 2008

The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee says it is deeply concerned at proposals in the Papua region to implant microchips in sufferers from HIV/AIDs.

Its spokesperson Maire Leadbetter says this proposal has been widely condemned by health and HIV/AIDs experts as well as human rights advocates.

The Committee has written to New Zealand's new Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, asking him to intervene.

Ms Leadbetter says the Papua region is in the grip of an HIV/AIDs epidemic, with up to two percent of the population suffering from the disease.

She says the international research is conclusive that the way to reduce the problem is through education and persuasive public health programs that promote safe sex and safe injecting practice.

Ms Leadbetter says the micro-chipping issue is so serious and so potentially disastrous for the future of HIV/AIDs prevention and control in the region that New Zealand is obliged to raise it promptly with Indonesian authorities.