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, York University, Kinsman BuildingToronto, Ontario, CANADA, M3J 1P3Phone: 416 661 9611 ext. 203, Fax: 416661 5701Email: conniel@inclusion international. org Human Rights Watch Press releaseJuly 1, 2009 Compulsory HIV testing, sterilization of disabled violate rights New York The Rwandan Parliament should remove provisions in a draft lawthat would mandate compulsory HIV testing and require the sterilization ofall individuals with intellectual disabilities, Human Rights Watch said
today. The organization said that the provisions, in a reproductive healthbill, are deeply
flawed and violate the government's obligations to upholdand protect human rights. "Compulsory HIV testing and forced sterilization are counterproductive tothe Rwandan government's goal of improved reproductive health," said JoeAmon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. "Provisions inthe current bill that increase stigma, rely on coercion, and denyindividuals their reproductive rights should be removed. " Human Rights Watch said that the reproductive health bill, drafted by theparliamentary committee whose duties include promoting social welfare,contains three particularly troublesome provisions related to HIV/AIDStesting. First it provides that all individuals who plan to marry mustundergo HIV testing and provide a certificate beforehand. Second, marriedindividuals are required to be tested for HIV/AIDS upon the request of theirspouses. Third, if a physician finds it "necessary" for a child or anincapacitated person to be tested for HIV/AIDS, he or she may conduct thetest without seeking consent and may show the result to the parent,guardian, or care provider. Ensuring that all HIV testing is confidential, conducted with informedconsent, and accompanied by counseling is widely recognized as integral toeffective HIV prevention and treatment strategies.