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U.S. Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2008
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
February 25, 2009

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/

 

 

Excerpts pertaining to HIV/AIDS

 

Compiled from State Dept. reports by Richard J. Rosendall

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

 

Note: For LGBT excerpts, see the Council for Global Equality:

www.globalequality.org

 

Afghanistan

No mention.

Albania

No mention.

Algeria

In 2006 the ministries of religious affairs and health initiated a series of training sessions for imams and female guides in order to better address social and medical issues, including HIV/AIDS. As part of the program, 100 copies of a national guide on Islam and HIV/AIDS were distributed to the attendees.

HIV/AIDS is considered a shameful disease in the country. According to March 2007 statistics released by the Ministry of Health, 2,100 citizens were HIV-positive, and 736 persons suffered from HIV/AIDS. There were 54 centers offering free services to detect HIV/AIDS. According to a 2007 survey of 30,000 families in the 48 provinces performed by the United Nations Children's Fund, only 15 percent were aware of means to protect themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS. During the year the Health Ministry and the NGO AIDS Algerie launched an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign, stressing the need to avoid discrimination, especially in the workplace, against those with HIV/AIDS.

Andorra

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

The government's elected ombudsman advised the government in 2007 to follow World Health Organization recommendations concerning work and residence permits for immigrants. According to the ombudsman, the government's denial of permits to persons with certain diseases, including those infected with the HIV virus, could constitute a violation of human rights.

Angola

Discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS is illegal, but lack of enforcement allowed employers to discriminate against persons with the disease. There were no reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS. The government's National Institute for HIV/AIDS conducted HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns. Local NGOs worked to combat stigmatization and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS. The FAA conducted educational programs to discourage discrimination against HIV-positive military personnel and prevent the spread of the disease.

Antigua and Barbuda

There were no reports of violence or discrimination directed toward persons with HIV/AIDS. The Ministry of Health supported local NGO efforts to register human rights complaints and seek assistance related to cases of discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. The Ministry of Labor encouraged employers to be more sensitive to employees with HIV/AIDS.

Argentina

INADI received 62 discrimination complaints on the basis of HIV positive status, 34 of which were resolved rapidly. The law prohibits termination of employment of HIV positive employees.

Armenia

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Australia

Federal and various state laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of HIV-positive status. HREOC reviews complaints of discrimination on the grounds of HIV/AIDS status under the category of disability-related complaints, but a specific breakdown of HIV/AIDS-related cases was not available.

Austria

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Azerbaijan

There were no reports of societal violence or discriminations against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Bahamas, The

Stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was high. Violence against persons with HIV/AIDS was not reported, although the May victim in one of the unsolved gay killings was the most prominent HIV/AIDS activist in the country. His death drew much media attention and caused the HIV/AIDS center to close for three months because press attention deterred those seeking information and treatment. Children living with HIV/AIDS also faced discrimination, and teachers often were not told that a child was HIV positive for fear of verbal abuse from both educators and peers. The government maintained a home for orphaned children infected with HIV/AIDS.

Bahrain

While discrimination against homosexuality and HIV/AIDS was not common or apparent, both attributes were socially taboo and not widely covered in the media.

Bangladesh

There were no reported cases of violence or discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients. NGOs believed this was partly a function of the refusal of victims to self-identify and an absence of research given the relatively low rate of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Barbados

The government funded a large country-wide media campaign to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them.

Belarus

Prostitution is illegal, but is an administrative, rather than a criminal, offense and penalties are light. Officials and human rights observers reported that prostitution was not a significant problem. However, anecdotal evidence indicated that it was growing, particularly in regions outside the main cities. There were prostitution rings in government-owned hotels. According to city police, approximately 500 women in Minsk had police records for prostitution. Svyatlana Brutskaya, leader of a project on HIV/AIDs prevention, put the number of persons in prostitution in Minsk at 3,000. As of September authorities reported 68 violations related to prostitution.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem and the illness carried a heavy stigma despite greater awareness and increased tolerance towards persons infected with the virus. For example, maternity wards no longer had separate facilities for HIV-infected mothers. However, the UN AIDS office reported that there were still numerous reports of HIV-infected individuals who faced discrimination. In September the government reported that 9,282 citizens were infected with HIV.

Belgium

In its annual report for 2007, the CEOOR noted an increase in discrimination based on health or medical conditions--including against persons with HIV/AIDS, philosophical orientation (a Belgian legal concept referring to religious, spiritual, and philosophical belief or lack thereof), and age.

Belize

There was some societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, and the government worked to combat it through the public education efforts of the National AIDS Commission under the Ministry of Human Development and through the Pan-American Social Marketing Organization.

Benin

There were no reports of overt discrimination or violence based on HIV/AIDS status. Since 2006 it has been illegal to discriminate against a person, at any stage of hiring or employment, based on his or her HIV status.

Bhutan

The National Women's Association of Bhutan tried to encourage women to improve their living standards and socio‑economic status. A National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) actively defended the rights of women and children during the year. Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women, a new organization operating with funding and direction from the queen, focused on HIV/AIDS and other health issues to improve the lives of underprivileged and marginalized women. In April 2007, the government established the Women and Child Protection Unit, run by female police officers in collaboration with the NCWC. The unit provides a setting for women to voice problems freely and works to ensure that victims receive appropriate care.

There is no mention of HIV/AIDS or language referring to discrimination based on illnesses in the constitution. However, these topics were not considered taboo in the country and the World Bank reported that the government discussed sexual health issues openly and positively.

Bolivia

The law provides that prisoners have access to medical care, but care was inadequate, and it was difficult for prisoners to get permission for outside medical treatment. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and prisoners reported cases of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the jails. However, affluent prisoners could obtain transfers to preferred prisons or even to outside private institutional care for "medical" reasons. Inmates who could pay had access to drugs and alcohol, and sometimes they used children to traffic drugs inside the prisons.

Although the law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, language, sexual orientation, or social status, there was significant discrimination against women, indigenous people, and the small black minority. Persons with HIV/AIDS, indigenous people, peasant farmers, and homosexuals, in this order, experienced the most discrimination.

The human rights ombudsman reported that persons with HIV/AIDS faced the most discrimination in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Government statistics put the number of officially-registered cases of HIV/AIDS in the country at less than 200. The NGO XY-Association for Sexual and Reproductive Health estimated that the actual number of cases was approximately 600, while the UN Program on HIV/AIDS estimated the number at less than 1,000. There was a significant stigma against persons with HIV/AIDS, a general lack of awareness of HIV/AIDS, and extremely limited resources to identify and assist those affected.

Botswana

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, some problems remained, including abuse of detainees by security forces, poor prison conditions, lengthy delays in the judicial process, restrictions on press freedom, violence against women, and child abuse. Societal discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, homosexuals, persons with HIV/AIDS, persons with albinism, and members of the San ethnic group was a problem.

Prison conditions remained poor due to overcrowding. In September the prison system held approximately 6,300 prisoners, which exceeded the authorized capacity of 4,900. Overcrowding, which was worse in men's prisons, constituted a serious health threat due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Rape of inmates by inmates occurred.

Voluntary and free HIV testing, peer counseling, and antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment were available to prisoners. As of September 2007, 314 prisoners were receiving ARV treatment, and two HIV-positive pregnant prisoners were participating in a "prevention of mother-to-child transmission" program. The government did not provide ARV treatment to noncitizens in detention, but those in long-term detention could receive such treatment for free from a local nongovernmental organization (NGO).

Several organizations such as The Botswana Center for Human Rights (DITSHWANELO); Botswana Law Society; and The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS provided free legal services but had limited capacity.

Independent local human rights groups included DITSHWANELO; Childline, a child welfare NGO; Emang Basadi, a women's rights group; and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS. The government interacted with and provided financial support to some of these organizations.

The law prohibits rape but does not recognize the concept of spousal rape. The number of reported rape cases increased during the year to 1,360; however, it was unclear whether this was a result of increased reporting due to NGO efforts to improve awareness of the crime or an actual increase in the number of rapes committed. By law the minimum sentence for rape is 10 years in prison, increasing to 15 years with corporal punishment if the offender is HIV-positive, and 20 years' imprisonment with corporal punishment if the offender was aware of having HIV-positive status. Corporal punishment was used more often in the customary courts and typically consisted of strokes to the buttocks with a stick. A person convicted of rape is required to undergo an HIV test before being sentenced. However, police lacked basic investigative techniques in rape cases. Spousal rape is not recognized as a crime.

In 2005 the UN Children's Fund estimated that there were 150,000 orphans in the country, of whom approximately 120,000 had lost one or both parents due to HIV/AIDS. As of October the government had registered 49,852 children as orphans. Once registered, the children received clothes, shelter, a monthly food basket worth between 216 pula (approximately $29)and 350 pula ($44) depending upon location, and counseling as needed. Some relatives continued to deny inheritance rights to orphans.

No law specifically prohibits child abuse. Sex with a child younger than 16 is known as defilement and is prohibited and punishable by a minimum of 10 years of incarceration. By September 322 defilement cases were reported to the police. There were defilement investigations and convictions during the year. Sexual abuse of students by teachers was a problem, and there were frequent media reports of rape, sexual assault, incest, and defilement. Deaths from HIV/AIDS orphaned an increasing number of children. These children were sometimes sexually abused by the extended family members with whom they lived. The law considers incest a punishable act only if it occurs between blood relatives.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be a problem, including in the workplace. The government funded community organizations that ran programs to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS. The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS continued to advocate for an HIV employment law to curb discrimination in the workplace.

Brazil

Each state secretariat for public security operated "delegacias da mulher" (DEAMs), police stations dedicated exclusively to addressing crimes against women, for a total of 415 countrywide. The quality of services varied widely, and availability was particularly limited in isolated areas. For example, the North and Northeast regions, which contained approximately 35 percent of the country's population, possessed only 24 percent of the country's DEAMs. The stations provided psychological counseling, temporary shelter, and hospital treatment for victims of domestic violence and rape (including treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases) as well as criminal prosecution assistance by investigating and forwarding evidence to courts. There were also 123 reference centers and 66 women's shelters.

There were no reported cases of societal violence or discrimination based on persons with HIV/AIDS during the year.

Brunei Darussalam

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS. The law makes it a criminal offense to have "sexual intercourse against the order of nature." There were no reports of official discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, access to education, or health care.

Bulgaria

Guards' mistreatment of inmates continued to be a problem. There were also increased reports of fights and mistreatment among the inmates themselves. Citing financial constraints, prison authorities acknowledged difficulties diagnosing and treating the increasing numbers of drug‑dependent inmates and limiting their access to narcotics. According to the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) at least three prisoners died in 2007 from overdoses. In 2007 the diagnosis of 27 prisoners with HIV/AIDS posed a new challenge to the prison healthcare system.

According to the Bulgarian Foundation for Aiding HIV/AIDS Patients, several HIV-positive patients were denied appropriate medical treatment. The government reported that during 2007, 45 percent of new HIV patients contracted the disease through heterosexual contact, 33 percent were intravenous drug users, and 18 percent were men having sex with men. Patients reported hiding the fact that they were HIV positive in order to receive medical care.

Burkina Faso

Societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem. Persons who tested positive for HIV/AIDS were sometimes shunned by their families, and HIV/AIDS-positive wives were sometimes evicted from their homes. Some landlords refused to rent lodgings to persons with HIV/AIDS. However, persons with HIV/AIDS were generally not discriminated against in employment practices or the workplace.

Burma

Prison and labor camp conditions generally were harsh and life threatening. The Department of Prisons operated approximately 40 prisons and 70 labor camps. Food, clothing, and medical supplies reportedly were scarce in prisons. There were reports that authorities in some prisons forced prisoners to pay for food. Bedding often was inadequate, sometimes consisting of a single mat on the floor. Prisoners were forced to rely on their families, who were allowed one or two visits per month, for basic necessities. The government solicited private donations of food, clothing, and medical supplies as well as books and television sets for prisoner use but reportedly diverted all donated goods to government officials. Prisoners were held without being charged for weeks or months, and until a prisoner was officially charged with a crime, families could not visit or send critical supplementary food. HIV/AIDS infection rates in prisons reportedly were high due to communal use of syringes for injections and sexual abuse by other prisoners.

The government did not dedicate significant resources to protecting the rights and welfare of children. Children were at high risk, as deteriorating economic conditions forced destitute parents to take them out of school to work in factories and teashops or to beg. Many were placed in orphanages. With few or no skills, increasing numbers of children worked in the informal economy or in the street, where they were exposed to drugs, petty crime, risk of arrest, trafficking for sex and labor exploitation, and HIV/AIDS.

Young women and girls were at high risk for trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, while both young men and women were trafficked to East and Southeast Asia and the Middle East for domestic servitude and bonded labor. Victims of trafficking faced hazardous conditions, including sexual and physical abuse by their traffickers, poor nutrition and sanitary conditions, and disease, including tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

HIV-positive patients were discriminated against, although HIV activists reported that awareness campaigns helped to reduce discrimination and stigma. However, some persons reportedly were reluctant to visit clinics that treat HIV/AIDS patients for fear of being suspected of having the disease.

Burundi

The UN Development Fund for Women reported that many rapes of minors were committed with the belief that they would prevent or cure sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

The law provides for children's health and welfare, but the government did not meet most of the needs of children, particularly the large population of children orphaned by violence since 1993 and by HIV/AIDS.

According to the latest statistics from UNICEF, 20,000 children under the age of 15 were living with HIV/AIDS and more than 120,000 children were orphaned by AIDS.

The increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS increased the number of orphans. The total number of children orphaned from all causes was almost 900,000, according to UNICEF.

According to the Ministry for National Solidarity, Human Rights, and Gender, there were approximately 5,000 street children in the country, many of them HIV/AIDS orphans; however, the government was unable to provide them with adequate medical and economic support and relied on NGOs to provide such basic services.

Cambodia

Trafficking victims, especially those trafficked for sexual exploitation, faced the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In some cases victims were detained and physically and mentally abused by traffickers, brothel owners, and clients.

Societal discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS remained a problem in rural areas; however, discrimination was moderated by HIV/AIDS awareness programs. There was no official discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS.

Cameroon

No mention.

Canada

There were no known reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. The criminal code provides penalties for violence against individuals. Courts generally interpreted prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of disability in federal and provincial human rights statutes to include discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Cape Verde

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Central African Republic

There were more than 6,000 street children between the ages of five and 18, including 3,000 in Bangui, according to the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs. Many experts believed that HIV/AIDS and a belief in sorcery, particularly in rural areas, contributed to the large number of street children. An estimated 110,000 children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and children accused of sorcery (often reportedly in connection to HIV/AIDS-related deaths in their neighborhoods) often were expelled from their households.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS were also subject to discrimination and stigma, though less so as NGOs and UN agencies raised awareness about the disease and available treatments. Nonetheless, many individuals living with HIV/AIDS did not disclose their status for fear of social stigma.

Chad

A 2007 law provides for persons with HIV/AIDS to have the same rights as those without HIV/AIDS and obligates the government to provide information, education, and access to tests and treatment for persons with HIV/AIDS; however, societal discrimination continued to be practiced against those who have HIV/AIDS.

Chile

In isolated instances prisoners died due to lack of clear prison procedures and insufficient medical resources. Prison officials reported that there were 63 deaths from preventable causes during the year, compared with 48 in 2007. As of December 48 inmates had been killed by other prisoners, and 15 inmates had committed suicide. Prisoners with HIV/AIDS and mental disabilities allegedly failed to receive adequate medical attention.

There were no confirmed cases of societal violence or discrimination based on persons with HIV/AIDS.

China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

On April 3, a Beijing court sentenced HIV/AIDS and environmental activist Hu Jia to three years and six months in prison for "inciting subversion" of state authority. Hu Jia was detained in December 2007 on suspicion of inciting subversion. Hu Jia's wife, activist Zeng Jinyan, remained under house arrest with the couple's newborn child. During the Olympics, authorities required Zeng and her child to go to the northeastern city of Dalian, and restricted Zeng's contact with outsiders.

Between January 1 and December 2, the FCCC reported 178 incidents of harassment compared with 160 cases for all of 2007. On January 24, thugs in Shandong Province threw stones at a German television crew attempting to meet with Yuan Weijing, the wife of imprisoned rights activist Chen Guangcheng. In November thugs beat a Belgian television crew attempting to cover the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Henan Province. The thugs also robbed the crew of its tapes, camera memory card, mobile phones, and money.

Although prostitution is illegal, experts estimated that between 1.7 million and 6 million women were involved in prostitution in the country. According to state-run media, one out of every five massage parlors in the country was involved in prostitution, with the percentage higher in cities. In December Xinhua reported that, according to Beijing's municipal health bureau, only 47 percent of Beijing's 90,000 sex workers used condoms. The report also mentioned that sexual transmission surpassed intravenous drug use as the primary method of infection, which accounted for 55 percent of all HIV transmissions in the capital.

Despite provisions in the new Employment Promotion Law, discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B carriers (including 20 million chronic carriers) remained widespread in many areas. Persons with HIV/AIDS suffered discrimination, and local governments sometimes tried to suppress their activities. At the same time, international involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, as well as central government pressure on local governments to respond appropriately, brought improvements in some localities. Some hospitals that previously refused to treat HIV/AIDS patients had active care and treatment programs because domestic and international training programs improved the understanding of local healthcare workers and their managers. In Beijing dozens of local community centers encouraged and facilitated HIV/AIDS support groups.

Some NGOs working with HIV/AIDS patients and their family members continued to report difficulties with local governments, particularly in Henan Province, where thousands were infected in government-run blood-selling stations during the 1990s. Henan authorities successfully provided free treatment to persons with HIV/AIDS, but foreign and local observers noted that local governments were reluctant or even hostile toward coordinating efforts with NGOs and preferred to work independently.

Tibet

On November 8, the Lhasa Evening News reported that on October 27, the Lhasa Intermediate Court sentenced Wangdu (Wangdui), a former employee of an HIV/AIDS prevention project run by a foreign NGO, to life in prison for engaging in "espionage" on behalf of the "Dalai clique." The paper also reported that six other Tibetans, including another former employee of a foreign NGO, Migmar Dhondup, received sentences ranging from eight to 15 years for "espionage" or "providing intelligence to foreigners."

Prostitution was a growing problem in Tibetan areas, and hundreds of brothels operated semi-openly in Lhasa. International development workers in the TAR reported there were no reliable data on the number of persons engaged in the commercial sex trade in Lhasa and Shigatse, the TAR's two largest cities, although some estimates placed the number as high as 10,000. Some of the prostitution occurred at sites owned by the CCP, the government, and the military. Most prostitutes in the TAR were ethnic Han women, predominantly from Sichuan Province. However, some ethnic Tibetans, mainly young girls from rural or nomadic areas, also engaged in prostitution. While the incidence of HIV/AIDS among those in prostitution in Tibetan areas was unknown, the TAR Health Bureau reported 56 cases of HIV/AIDS in the TAR between 1994 and 2007. Lack of knowledge about HIV transmission and economic pressures on women and girls in prostitution to engage in unprotected sex made them particularly vulnerable.

Hong Kong

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Macau

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Colombia

There were no confirmed reports of discrimination towards persons with HIV/AIDS.

Comoros

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Homosexuals did not publicly discuss their sexual orientation due to societal pressure.

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or persons with HIV/AIDS.

In July President Kabila promulgated a new law passed by Parliament that protects persons with HIV/AIDS from discrimination.

Congo, Republic of the

Education was compulsory, tuition-free, and universal until the age of 16, but families were required to pay for books, uniforms, and school fees. In the cities approximately 95 percent of primary school-age children attended school, and in rural areas an estimated 90 percent attended. Schools were overcrowded and facilities extremely poor. Girls and boys attended primary school in equal numbers; however, the proportion of girls who continued on to the high school and university levels was significantly lower. Girls generally quit school by age 15 or 16. In addition teenage girls often were pressured to exchange sex for better grades, which resulted in both the spread of HIV/AIDS and unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on political, sexual, or religious orientation. However, the social stigma associated with homosexuality was significant. There was no open homosexuality in the country. In contrast, persons with HIV/AIDS were fairly well organized and sought fair treatment, especially regarding employment. NGOs worked widely on HIV/AIDS issues, including raising public awareness that those living with HIV/AIDS were still able to contribute to society. The law provides avenues for wronged persons to file lawsuits if they were, for example, terminated from employment due to their HIV/AIDS status.

Costa Rica

Medical care at most facilities generally was adequate for routine illnesses and injuries. However, prisoners were referred to the social service system for complex medical issues, such as HIV/AIDS, with consequent treatment delays.

Discrimination based on HIV/AIDS is prohibited by law and by presidential decree in health care, employment, and education. The Ombudsman's Office received one complaint of a breach of patient confidentiality during the year; the claim was dismissed because it could not be substantiated.

Cote d'Ivoire

The law did not provide for the protection of persons living with HIV/AIDS from societal and other forms of discrimination. Societal stigmatization of persons living with HIV/AIDS was widespread. The Ministry of Health provided nationwide access to free HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment, and the Ministry of Education incorporated lesson plans and classroom activities to reduce social stigma and vulnerability into the curriculum for all students, including students in the former FN-held zones.

Croatia

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas. The judicial system suffered from a case backlog, although courts somewhat reduced the number of unresolved cases awaiting trial. Intimidation of some witnesses in domestic war crimes trials remained a problem. The government made little progress in restituting property nationalized by the Yugoslav communist regime to non-Roman Catholic religious groups. Societal violence and discrimination against ethnic minorities, particularly Serbs and Roma, remained a problem. Violence and discrimination against women continued. Trafficking in persons, violence and discrimination against homosexuals, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were also reported.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem. The Croatian Association for HIV (HUHIV) reported that there were instances of dentists and general practitioners refusing to treat HIV-positive patients and that some hospitals postponed surgeries because doctors were reluctant to operate. If an HIV patient did not go through the infectious disease hospital, he or she often waited for treatment, and doctors sometimes delayed surgery indefinitely. There were allegations that transplant centers refused to put HIV patients on their list of potential organ recipients.

According to HUHIV representatives, the lack of public assistance, such as hot lines, for HIV-positive patients was a problem. According to the UN theme group on HIV/AIDS, analysis of the laws regarding HIV indicated that they contain discriminatory provisions. The group cited legal provisions that require testing under medical supervision for certain professions and in certain cases involving prisoners and restrictions on HIV-positive persons with regard to employment. According to the analysis, most cases of discrimination occurred outside the scope of the law or were due to insufficient enforcement of privacy laws, lack of consistent adequate medical care, and discrimination in school or the workplace.

Cuba

Some persons with HIV/AIDS suffered job discrimination or were rejected by their families. The government operated four prisons exclusively for HIV/AIDS sufferers; some inmates were serving sentences for "propagating an epidemic."

Cyprus

An NGO reported complaints of discrimination toward persons with HIV/AIDS. NGOs were reluctant to initiate awareness campaigns.

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Czech Republic

There were no reports of discrimination against persons who were HIV‑positive.

Denmark

There were no reports of societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Djibouti

There was no known societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Dominica

The DNCW and other activists believed that there may be some trafficking of women for prostitution, but acknowledged it was hard to prove as most of the women in the sex trade were afraid to come forward, fearing deportation. An NGO that interviewed commercial sex workers as part of an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign found that most appeared to have entered the country for economic reasons and began working in prostitution thereafter. 

The government and the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association initiated programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them. 

Dominican Republic

Budget allocations for necessities such as food, medicine, and transportation were insufficient. Most inmates begged for or purchased food from persons in the vicinity of the prison or obtained it from family members. Prisoners were often not taken to their trials unless they paid bribes to the guards, and visitors often had to bribe prison guards in order to visit prisoners. Similarly, detainees had to pay bribes to be allowed to attend vocational training offered at some facilities. Prison officials accepted money in exchange for a recommendation that a prisoner be furloughed or released for health reasons. There were credible allegations that prisoners could obtain early release on parole for a bribe. Prisons often did not provide adequate medical care to inmates. Prisoners immobilized with HIV/AIDS or who had terminal illnesses were not transferred to hospitals.

Persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly women, faced discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. According to the UN agency UNAIDS, an estimated 60,000-65,000 persons in the country were infected with the disease. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, workers in many industries faced obligatory HIV testing in the workplace or when seeking medical care or medical insurance. Workers or patients found to have the disease could be fired from their jobs or denied adequate health care. Although the law prohibits the use of HIV testing to screen employees or for medical services unrelated to the disease, there were no known instances where this law was enforced, despite reports that official complaints had been filed.

The International Trade Union Congress reported an agricultural export company in the north of the country still refused to recognize a union following a protracted fight ultimately requiring the workers to seek and receive legal recognition of the union. According to FEDOTRAZONAS, the company continued its antiunion campaign and discriminated openly against union members, who were forced to work overtime and were refused water and transport in and outside the fields. FEDOTRAZONAS also reported that Haitian workers at the company were being paid below the minimum wage and that all employees were required to take a blood test allegedly related to HIV. The Ministry of Labor was investigating these claims at year's end.

Ecuador

The 2008 constitution specifically prohibits discrimination directed at persons with HIV/AIDS. There was no societal violence against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, persons with HIV/AIDS often preferred to conceal their health condition in order to avoid social discrimination.

Egypt

During the year human rights groups and the media documented numerous cases of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, including against persons alleged to have HIV/AIDS, lawyers attempting to defend their clients, journalists and bloggers who reported on torture or other controversial topics, and labor demonstrators.

On February 2 and again on May 29, Cairo appeals courts upheld one-to-three-year prison sentences and fines against nine of 12 suspected HIV-positive men arrested in October 2007 on charges of debauchery. The arrests began after two men, stopped on the street during an altercation, told police officers they were HIV positive. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), authorities arrested and interrogated the men, pressuring them to name their sexual contacts, whom police subsequently arrested. Ministry of Health doctors forced all 12 to undergo HIV tests without their consent, and Forensics Medical Authority doctors performed forcible anal examinations on the men, purportedly to prove that they had had sexual intercourse with other men. The detainees who proved to be HIV positive were held for weeks in hospitals chained to their beds, until February 25, when the Ministry of Health ordered the hospitals to unchain them. The prosecutor dropped the charges against three of the men, who were then released.

In June the government removed EIPR from the list of participants for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS on June 10 and 11. Domestic and international NGOs described the incident as "a disturbing escalation of the atmosphere of harassment and restrictions targeting independent human rights organizations."

Although the law does not explicitly criminalize homosexual acts, police targeted homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS, leading to arrests on charges of "debauchery." Authorities also reportedly forced individuals in detention to undergo HIV tests and conducted abusive anal examinations. Homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS faced significant social stigma in society and in the workplace.

El Salvador

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV status and sexual orientation, although in practice discrimination was widespread. The homosexual rights group Entre Amigos reported that public and private actors engaged in violence and discrimination against sexual minorities and persons with HIV/AIDS, including the government's continued denial of Entre Amigos' application for legal registration. Entre Amigos also reported that throughout the year, persons vandalized and robbed the group's offices, necessitating that the organization move locations regularly.

Lack of public information remained a problem in confronting discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS or in assisting persons suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Equatorial Guinea

Conditions in police station jails and other detention centers (apart from prisons) were harsher and life threatening. Many detainees were held in these conditions well beyond the maximum 72 hours stipulated by law, sometimes up to several months. Allegations of violence among detainees were frequently ignored or even tolerated by authorities. Holding cells were overcrowded and dirty, and detainees very rarely had access to medical care, exercise, mattresses, or sleeping facilities. Diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS were serious problems. Food was usually provided by detainees' families or fellow detainees, and access to potable water was severely restricted. Most detainees had no access to toilets and resorted to plastic bottles or plastic bags instead.

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability, language, or social status; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively. Nonetheless, numerous public outreach efforts were undertaken to improve public awareness of the issues associated with violence and discrimination against women and children, discrimination against ethnic minorities, and discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS.

Despite frequent public statements and radio campaigns advocating nondiscrimination toward them, persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be victims of societal stigmatization, which led them to keep their illness hidden. The government provided for free HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, and supported public information campaigns to increase awareness.

Eritrea

Restrictions continued on the activities of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Female genital mutilation (FGM) was widespread, and there was societal abuse and discrimination against women, members of the Kunama ethnic group, homosexuals, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Estonia

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Ethiopia

Societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Despite the abundance of anecdotal information, there is no data or statistical information on the scale of this problem.

Fiji

There was some societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS, although there was no systemic discrimination. There were no known cases of violence directed at homosexuals or persons with HIV/AIDS.

Finland

In August the Rovaniemi District Court sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for deliberately infecting five women with HIV. The court ordered the man to pay damages to the victims.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

France

An inquiry conducted by AIDS Info Service in 2005 showed that 57.3 percent of HIV positive respondents had experienceddiscrimination. These cases represent 13.9 percent of the discrimination caseload addressed by the HALDE in 2005.

Gabon

Societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Despite the abundance of anecdotal information, there is no data or statistical information on the scale of this problem.

There was considerable discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. One local NGO worked closely with the minister of health to combat both the associated stigma and the spread of the disease.

Gambia, The

There was evidence of societal discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS. Stigma and discrimination hindered disclosure and led to rejection from partners and relatives. The government took a multisectoral approach to fighting HIV/AIDS through its national strategic plan, which provides for care, treatment, and support to persons living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS, and the protection of the rights of those at risk of infection. In April 2007 the National AIDS Secretariat collaborated with The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop a business coalition response to HIV/AIDS using workplace policies to destigmatize it and allow workers to feel comfortable seeking information. Public discourse about HIV/AIDS was ongoing during the year as President Jammeh continued his controversial herbal treatment program for the virus. Throughout the year the secretary of state for health urged persons to undergo voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

Georgia

Rape is illegal, but spousal rape is not specifically addressed by criminal law. Criminal cases of rape generally could only be initiated following a complaint by the victim. A first-time offender may be imprisoned for up to seven years; a repeat offender or perpetrator against multiple victims may receive up to 10 years. If the victim becomes pregnant, contracts HIV/AIDS, or is subjected to extreme violence, the sentence may be increased to 15 years or, if the victim is a minor, up to 20 years. During the year, 100 rape cases were registered, of which 66 cases were investigated and 22 were sent to court. Observers believed many instances of rape were unreported due to the social stigma for victims and because police did not always investigate reports of rape.

The law expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS status; however, there is no penalty for violating this prohibition. NGOs reported that social stigma resulted in individuals avoiding testing or obtaining treatment for fear of discrimination. Some health care providers, particularly dentists, often refused to provide services to HIV-positive persons. Individuals often concealed their HIV-positive status from employers for fear of losing their jobs.

Germany

There was discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. The government worked with NGOs, religious groups, and business to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and its prevention.

Ghana

The government generally respected human rights, but human rights problems continued, including: deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by police; vigilante violence; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; police corruption and impunity; prolonged pretrial detention; forcible dispersal of demonstrations; corruption in all branches of government; violence against women and children; female genital mutilation (FGM); societal discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, homosexuals, and persons with HIV/AIDS; trafficking in women and children; ethnic discrimination and politically and ethnically motivated violence; and child labor, including forced child labor.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem, and the fear of being stigmatized continued to discourage persons from being tested for HIV infection.

The government and NGOs subsidized many centers that provided free HIV testing to citizens, although there were reports that confidentiality was not consistently respected.

Greece

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs.

Grenada

There was no perceptible discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, in part because the disease was widespread in the general population, including women infected by partners engaging in sex with men and boys, and partly because of societal pressures to keep one's status quiet. The government encouraged citizens to be tested and to get treatment. An NGO, GRENCHAP, provided counseling to those affected by HIV/AIDS. A local business organization urged local companies to educate themselves and their workers about HIV/AIDS in the workplace and not to discriminate against employees with the disease.

Guatemala

The law does not expressly include HIV status among the categories prohibited from discrimination, and there was social discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Guinea

In most prisons, men and women were held separately, but juveniles generally were held with adults in prisons outside the capital. Local NGOs reported that male juveniles were held separately from adult males at Conakry's Central Prison. However, juvenile and adult females were confined together, and were not given the same freedoms as their male counterparts, such as access to fresh air. In 2006 an international NGO reported the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among incarcerated male minors was as high as 50 percent, suggesting sexual abuse. A 2008 study by a local NGO reported skin lesions on 41 percent of juvenile inmates, which it attributed to sexual abuse.

There were no reports of discrimination towards persons with HIV/AIDS.

Guinea-Bissau

There was no open discussion of homosexuality and very little concerning HIV/AIDS, and the government did not address discrimination on either basis. While there was no reported violence based on sexual orientation or HIV status, subtle discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV status did exist.

Guyana

Prostitution is illegal but present. It continued to receive greater public attention due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS among prostitutes.

Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS were not widely reported.

Haiti

Societal discrimination occurred against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly women, but educational programs sponsored by foreign donors and efforts by HIV/AIDS activists attempted to change that stigma.

Honduras

The law sets penalties and defines offenses related to trafficking, including incest, lechery, abuse, prostitution, pornography, and knowingly infecting someone with HIV/AIDS. Punishments include fines ranging from 100,000 to 500,000 lempiras (approximately $5,300 to $26,500) and imprisonment for four to 20 years. The law was not enforced effectively. Inadequate government funding to combat trafficking, corruption, and routine dismissal of government employees limited the government's ability to address trafficking.

There was no reported societal violence or discrimination against person with HIV/AIDS.

Hungary

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Iceland

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

India

According to the 2006 NHRC report, a large proportion of the deaths in judicial custody were from natural causes such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, which were aggravated by poor prison conditions. The NHRC assigned a special rapporteur to ensure that state prison authorities performed medical checkups on all inmates. Authorities released no information on the number of such deaths.

While the law states the legal age of marriage for women is 18 and for men 21, in practice this law was not followed. According to a 2005 Health Ministry report, half of all women were married by the age of 15. The report found that 45 percent of women aged 18 to 24, and 32 percent of men aged 18 to 29, married before the legal age. According to a 2005 report from the Office of the Registrar General of India, 240 girls died every day due to pregnancy-related complications in early child marriages. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) concluded that those married under the age of 18 were twice as likely to be abused by their husbands compared with women married later; they were also three times more likely to report marital rape. ICRW reported that child brides often showed signs of child sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress. Child marriages also limited girls' access to education and increased their health risks, since they had higher mortality rates and exposure to HIV/AIDS than girls married after 18.

In December the central government submitted a report which asserted that legalizing homosexuality would lead to more cases of HIV/AIDS.

In March 2007 the UN Development Program released a report on "launda dancers," young men and boys hired to dance in women's clothing at various events in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Dancers were vulnerable to exploitation by being cheated of earnings or being forced into prostitution. Sexual assault and gang rape were frequent, and dancers were at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Some laundas who had illegal castrations to join the hijra (traditional transvestite) community suffered from post operation complications due to inadequate medical care.

According to the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), the government agency responsible for monitoring HIV/AIDS, there were approximately 2.3 million persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country, and according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 70 percent of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS faced discrimination. HRW reported that many doctors refused to treat HIV-positive children and that some schools expelled or segregated them because they or their parents were HIV-positive. Many orphanages and other residential institutions rejected HIV-positive children or denied them housing.

NACO, with support from UNAIDS and the WHO, produced revised AIDS estimates that showed as of December 2007 approximately 2.31 million persons were living with the virus and that HIV prevalence among adults was around 0.36 percent. Estimates for previous years (since 2002) have also been revised.

On February 14, an AIDS victim's body was denied cremation in Kendrapara district, Orissa, due to fears the smoke from the funeral pyre would spread the virus.

On August 13, Kerala became the first state to reserve government jobs for HIV-positive candidates.

On August 14, an initiative to provide insurance to persons with HIV/AIDS was launched in Karnataka. The state estimated that 250,000 residents were infected with HIV/AIDS; however, only 22,000 were registered with the main HIV/AIDS NGO, the Karnataka Network for Positive People.

In 2006 authorities denied five HIV-positive children admission to the Mar Dionysius Lower Primary School in Kottayam district, Kerala, after pressure from the community. In August 2007 state government authorities readmitted them.

Indonesia

Stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were pervasive. However, the government encouraged tolerance, took steps to prevent new infections, and provided free antiretroviral (ART) drugs, although with numerous administrative barriers. The government position of tolerance was adhered to unevenly at all levels of society; for example, prevention efforts often were not aggressive for fear of antagonizing religious conservatives, and in addition to barriers to access to free ART drugs, potential recipients had to pay medical fees that put the cost beyond the reach of many.

Iran

In late June security agents seized brothers Arash and Kamiar Alaei from their mother's home in Tehran. The two physicians, both internationally known HIV/AIDS experts, were held incommunicado in Evin Prison. On December 31, prosecutors in a revolutionary court began to try the brothers for "communicating with an enemy government," a crime which carries a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment. According to the doctors' attorney, the government also made secret charges against the brothers. Neither the brothers nor their attorney were informed of the charges, or provided a chance to defend themselves against them. At the end of the year, the Alaeis remained in Evin Prison, and authorities did not allow them to post bail.

Persons with HIV/AIDS reportedly faced discrimination in schools and workplaces. The government supported programs for HIV/AIDS awareness and generally did not interfere with private HIV/AIDS-related NGOs.

Iraq

No mention.

Ireland

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Israel and the occupied territories

Societal violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS existed in isolated cases. The government continued to uphold laws criminalizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS.

The Occupied Territories (Including Areas Subject To The Jurisdiction Of The Palestinian Authority)

The PA Ministry of Health provided treatment and privacy protections for patients with HIV/AIDS; however, societal discrimination against affected individuals was high.

Italy

There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs.

Jamaica

No laws protect persons living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. Human rights NGOs reported severe stigma and discrimination against this group. The ILO worked with the Ministry of Labor on a program to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS in the workplace and to assist employers in designing policies for workers with HIV/AIDS. Although health care facilities were prepared to handle patients with HIV/AIDS, health care workers often neglected such patients.

Japan

Debt bondage was another means of control. Before arrival in the country, trafficking victims generally did not understand the size of the debts they would owe, the amount of time it would take them to repay the debts, or the conditions of employment to which they would be subjected upon arrival. Women faced debts of up to 4.5 million yen (approximately $40,000). In addition, they had to pay their employer for their living expenses, medical care (when provided by the employer), and other necessities. "Fines" for misbehavior added to the original debt and the process that employers used to calculate these debts was not transparent. Employers also sometimes "resold," or threatened to resell, troublesome women or women found to be HIV-positive, thereby increasing the victims' debts and often leading to even worse working conditions.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Jordan

HIV/AIDS was a largely taboo subject, and public awareness was limited. Many citizens assumed the disease was a problem exclusively of foreigners due to government requirements that foreigners be tested for HIV annually. Foreigners who tested HIV positive were deported.

Kazakhstan

Prison conditions remained harsh and facilities did not meet international health standards, although the government renovated three prisons and two detention facilities during the year as part of a penitentiary development program. Scarcity of medical care continued to be a problem. NGOs reported that about half of the inmate population was in need of professional treatment, especially for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Mistreatment occurred in police cells, pretrial detention facilities, and prisons. The government took steps to address systemic patterns that encouraged prisoner abuse, including continued operation of and increased access for regional penitentiary oversight commissions, training of prison officials, and seminars for MIA police. By year's end, authorities had prosecuted two prison officials for abuses, and they opened 36 investigations for corruption-related offenses, resulting in 24 convictions.

Although there were no official statistics on discrimination based on sexual orientation, there were reports of such discrimination. Representatives of international organizations reported that negative social attitudes towards marginalized groups, including homosexuals, impeded these groups' willingness to come forward and, consequently, hindered their access to HIV/AIDS programs.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS; however, observers reported that cultural stigmas against drug users and other at-risk groups continued to affect general access to information, services, treatment, and care.

Kenya

Child prostitution increased in recent years due to both poverty and the increase in the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Strong growth in the tourism industry also led to a large increase in foreign and domestic tourists seeking sex with underage girls and boys. The newspaper Daily Nation reported in 2007 that between 10,000 to 30,000 children engaged in prostitution, mostly in tourist areas.

Poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued to intensify child homelessness. In 2007 the government began a pilot program to place two million AIDS orphans with families in 20 districts. In 2007 the program placed 5,000 children in homes. In 2006 the children's rights NGO, African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect, estimated that 750,000 children lived on the streets. Street children faced harassment and physical and sexual abuse from police and others, and within the juvenile justice system.

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS during the year. The common view of HIV/AIDS as a stigma made it difficult for many families to acknowledge that a member was HIV-positive, and to date no socially or politically prominent individual has admitted being HIV-positive. However, there were fewer reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS. During the year courts awarded legal judgments which recognized discrimination against persons with HIV. For example, in July a Nairobi high court awarded 2.2 million shillings ($28,000) to a woman who had been wrongfully discharged from her job due to her HIV-positive status.

The Ministry of Defense arranged for uniformed personnel, their families, and some local persons to have access to HIV counseling and testing, prevention programs, and antiretroviral treatment during the year.

The government worked in cooperation with international donors on programs for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. This cooperation enabled a continued expansion of counseling and testing as well as care and treatment. During the year, the number of people with knowledge of their HIV status and those able to achieve improved health if found to be infected more than doubled. These developments were seen as key to reducing stigma and discrimination.

Kiribati

Societal discrimination and violence against persons with HIV/AIDS were not significant problems. A government-run HIV/AIDS taskforce coordinated outreach and education activities concerning HIV/AIDS.

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of

No information was available regarding discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Korea, Republic of

Some observers claimed that persons with HIV/AIDS suffered from severe societal discrimination and social stigma. The law ensures the confidentiality of persons with HIV/AIDS and protects individuals from discrimination. The government supported rehabilitation programs and shelters run by private groups and subsidized medical expenses from the initial diagnosis. The government operated a Web site with HIV/AIDS information and a telephone counseling service.

Kosovo

There were anecdotal reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS during the year.

Kuwait

No mention.

Kyrgyz Republic

No mention.

Laos

There was no official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but social discrimination existed. The government actively promoted tolerance of those with HIV/AIDS, and it conducted awareness campaigns to educate the population and promote understanding toward such persons.

Latvia

Prison and detention cell conditions remained poor. The government took no significant measures to improve prison and detention center conditions following 2007 reports by the Council of Europe (COE) human rights commissioner, by the COE Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on its 2004 periodic visit to the country, and by the Latvian Center on Human Rights (LCHR). The 2007 LCHR report on prisons and detention centers described a number of key problems, including prison overcrowding, violence among prisoners, and health problems (a high incidence of tuberculosis, drug addiction, and HIV infection). One prison closed in November, increasing pressure on other already crowded facilities.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lebanon

There are no discriminatory laws against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lesotho

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens. However, the following human rights abuses were reported: torture and physical abuse; poor prison conditions; lengthy pretrial detention and long trial delays. Societal abuses included abuse of spouses and children, widespread restrictions on women's rights, societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities or HIV/AIDS, and child labor.

Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that very young girls were raped as a result of the belief among some men that intercourse with a virgin could cure HIV infections.

The law provides for the protection of children; however, limited resources hampered the government's ability to fully enforce the law. In addition, the rapid rise in the number of AIDS orphans contributed to child prostitution, child homelessness, child-headed households, and children at risk of exploitation for labor or other purposes. The problem of parents getting sick or dying due to HIV/AIDS continued to be the most troubling issue facing children in the country.

Child abuse was a problem, especially for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. According to the Child and Gender Protection Unit, 309 cases of child abuse were opened during the year. These cases included child neglect, common assault, sexual assault, and grievous bodily harm.

According to media reports, child prostitution was also a problem. Young girls and boys, many of whom were orphans, moved to urban areas to engage in prostitution. A 2001 UNICEF assessment concluded that child prostitution in the country was a poverty-driven phenomenon rather than a commercial activity and that the financial arrangements were casual and not determined by organized criminal syndicates. However, UNICEF and the government agreed that while the numbers remained small, the more recent trend toward commercial prostitution by children was a growing problem. There were not enough resources within either the police force or the Department of Social Welfare to address the needs of children likely to engage in prostitution.

Familial stress, poverty, the virulent spread of HIV/AIDS, and divorce led to a rise in child homelessness and abandonment, creating numerous street children, of which according to UNICEF's latest figures, an estimated 180,000 were orphans and vulnerable children. Street children were hampered by lack of access to government services, such as medical care and schooling, and were not informed about their rights to such services.

There continued to be media reports that persons with AIDS and their immediate families, including children orphaned by AIDS, were stigmatized.

The law prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of HIV/AIDS status.

In 2006 parliament amended the labor code to include an HIV/AIDS workplace policy. Each government ministry or department provided subsidized medicine and food to its employees with HIV/AIDS, and such assistance was available to all citizens at subsidized prices at all government hospitals.

LDF policy states that if a soldier is found to be HIV positive after induction, the person is not retired or separated. The soldier is provided counseling and testing, and duties are adapted as appropriate.

Children were often forced by circumstances to take on jobs such as herding and working on the street, sometimes as sex workers. These children are forced to undertake such work by the economic situation and the fact that many traditional family support networks have been decimated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Liberia

There were no reports of societal violence based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Libya

Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a al-Hajuj, a Palestinian medical professional who for eight years was held on charges that he deliberately infected Libyan children with HIV was released in July 2007. In January he filed suit in France and at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, arguing that he was tortured repeatedly in detention. According to testimony obtained by AFP, the torture included rape by a German shepherd, fingernails ripped off, and electric shocks. He also testified that he was present when five Bulgarian nurses detained with him were tortured. He said most of the torture occurred during the early period after his imprisonment in 1999.

In an August 2007 interview, al-Hajuj provided a detailed account of these incidents, which included beatings, electric shocks, and injections with what police officers claimed was the HIV virus. According to his account, security services first arrested him in January 1999, forced him to wear a hood, and detained him without clothes in a 12-foot-square cell for 10 months. For several days he was detained in a room with three dogs, which police officers ordered to attack him as they attempted to extract a confession. Police also bent his knees against his chest, tied his hands and feet around his legs, threaded an iron bar through the rope and spun him around the bar "like a roasted chicken." For months, police forced him to sleep hanging from the wall with his hands tied behind his back.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Liechtenstein

There also were reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lithuania

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs.

Luxembourg

There were no reports of official or societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Madagascar

Although the national HIV/AIDS rate was low at approximately 1 percent, there was stigma and occasional discrimination attached to having HIV/AIDS. In July 2007 the government adopted a new law protecting HIV/AIDS patients' rights to free and quality health care and specifying sanctions against persons who discriminate or marginalize people with the disease. The law was enforced by the ministries of health and justice and the National Committee for the Fight Against AIDS in Madagascar.

Macedonia

No mention.

Malawi

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening; overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, substandard sanitation, and poor health facilities remained serious problems. In 2007 chief commissioner for Malawi prison services MacDonald Chawona publicly acknowledged that conditions in the prisons were appalling and attributed most of the problems to inadequate funding. In March the MHRC released a report noting violation of HIV-positive prisoners' rights due to shortage of medicine, inadequate space, poor medical facilities, poor nutrition, and a lack of emergency transport.

Numerous inmates died in prison each month, largely due to HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and inadequate diet. During the year there were 101 reported deaths in the prison system, including 52 attributed to HIV/AIDS, 21 to tuberculosis, 20to pneumonia, two to malaria, and six to diarrhea. In 2007 the Department of Prisons spokesperson admitted that funding for medicine for HIV/AIDS affected prisoners was inadequate.

On February 1, HIV counselor Charles Namphambo was convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman under the pretext of conducting an HIV test. Namphambo was sentenced to four years in prison.

The law provides for a minimum level of child support, widows' rights, and the right to maternity leave; however, only individuals who could utilize the formal legal system benefited from these legal protections. In a few isolated areas, a widow was sometimes forced to have sex with in‑laws as part of a culturally‑mandated "sexual cleansing" ritual following the death of her husband. In some cases, she was "inherited" by a brother‑in‑law or other male relative. Although there were no laws specifically prohibiting these practices, the government and civil society continued efforts to abolish them by raising awareness concerning the inherent dangers of such behavior, including the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

The widespread belief that children were unlikely to be HIV positive and that sexual intercourse with virgins can cleanse an individual of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, contributed to the sexual exploitation of minors.

A few charitable organizations attempted to reduce the number of child beggars in urban areas; however, the problem of street children remained serious as the number of orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS increased. Extended family members normally cared for such children and other orphans.

Societal discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS was widespread and inhibited access to treatment; many individuals preferred to keep silent about their health rather than seek help and risk being ostracized, but campaigns by the government and NGOs to combat the stigma were having some success. The National AIDS Commission stated that discrimination was a problem in both the public and private sector.

Malaysia

The government's response to HIV/AIDS was generally nondiscriminatory, although stigmatization of AIDS sufferers was common. On December 18, the deputy prime minister announced mandatory HIV screening, starting in 2009, for all Muslims prior to being married. He attributed the need for this screening to the rising rate of HIV infection among women. According to the government, more than 82,000 HIV/AIDS cases had been identified since 1986, with over 1,500 new cases identified during the year.

Maldives

There were no reports of official or societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Mali

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.

Malta

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marshall Islands

There were no accounts of societal violence based on HIV/AIDS infection. There was some cultural stigma attached to HIV infection, but non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the government conducted campaigns to provide HIV/AIDS education and encourage testing for the disease.

Mauritania

There was no evidence of systematic discrimination by either society or the government against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, taboos and beliefs associated with the disease caused victims in some areas to face isolation or exclusion. Although the official HIV-positive rate was estimated at less than 1 percent, it was likely to be significantly higher because of the stigma related to the disease, the lack of viable health statistics, and the impression that victims are guilty of violating Islamic practices.

Mauritius

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, the following human rights problems were reported: security force torture and abuse of suspects and detainees; prison overcrowding; harassment and intimidation of journalists; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women; abuse and sexual exploitation of children; discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS; restrictions on labor rights, antiunion discrimination, forced labor, including by children, and child labor.

Local human rights NGOs worked to assist persons with HIV/AIDS, rehabilitate former prisoners, promote women's rights, and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The government regularly consulted NGOs in formulating policy and worked in partnership with UN bodies and the local branch of Amnesty International.

The law protects the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS from stigmatization and discrimination; however, there were reports of discrimination against such persons and their relatives.

During the year the local NGO PILS, which deals with HIV/AIDS issues, recorded 210 cases of discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients, including denial of access to public health care services. PILS relayed such cases to the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, which initiated investigations of the doctors.

On April 12, the government amended the Immigration and Civil Status Acts to allow foreign citizens with HIV/AIDS to marry citizens; the law followed a public outcry over the case of a foreign citizen who was denied permission to marry a citizen due to her HIV/AIDS status.

Mexico

While homosexuals experienced a growing social acceptance, the National Center to Prevent and Control HIV/AIDS stated that discrimination persisted. Homophobic beliefs and practices were common, reflected principally in entertainment media programs and everyday attitudes. Reports of attacks against homosexuals and transsexuals were frequent.

On September 11 and September 23, the CNDH issued recommendations against the navy, the Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR), and SEDENA for discrimination against military members with HIV; SEMAR and SEDENA accepted the recommendations.

Micronesia, Federated States of

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against homosexuals or persons with HIV/AIDS.

Moldova

Several NGOs reported instances of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly in rural villages.

Monaco

There were no reports of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Mongolia

There was no official discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS; however, some societal discrimination existed.

Montenegro

There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs. The health minister stated on December 1 that there were approximately 390 HIV positive persons in the country.

Morocco

The few people living with HIV/AIDS in the country faced discrimination and had limited treatment options.

Mozambique

Societal problems including domestic violence, discrimination against women, abuse, exploitation, and forced labor of children, trafficking in women and children, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained widespread.

There continued to be many reported deaths in prison, the vast majority due to illness and disease. For example, in May the director of the Chimoio Agricultural Penitentiary reported that in the first four months of the year, 22 inmates had died, mostly due to malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis (TB). In many facilities, overcrowding, lack of sanitation, potable water, and food also led to sickness.

In a series of prison visits conducted during the year, the LDH found malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS to be commonplace among prisoners in nearly all prisons. LDH also found other illnesses caused by malnutrition, including paralysis and blindness. Both healthy and sick prisoners regularly were kept in the same cells.

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but in practice discrimination persisted against women, persons with disabilities, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Kukuyana, a national network of women living with HIV/AIDS, reported that many women were expelled from their homes and/or abandoned by their husbands and relatives because they were HIV positive. It also reported that some women who were widowed by HIV/AIDS were accused of being witches who purposely killed their husbands to acquire belongings, and in retribution were deprived of all possessions.

The government took steps to address the problems facing HIV/AIDS orphans. In June the government estimated the country had 430,000 orphans who had lost either one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and a study released during the year by UNICEF estimated that this number could reach 650,000 by 2010. Several government agencies, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women and Social Action, implemented programs to provide health assistance and vocational education for HIV/AIDS orphans.

The law prohibits discrimination of workers on the basis of HIV/AIDS status, and the Ministry of Labor generally intervened in cases of perceived discrimination by employers. In July the Ministry of Labor reported receiving more than 100 cases annually of workers being dismissed by their employers for having HIV/AIDS. Often, workers were obligated by the employer to take HIV/AIDS tests. In response to these violations, the ministry registered the complaints and confronted companies responsible for dismissals.

Although the law prohibits forced and bonded labor by children, it was considered to be a common problem, especially in rural areas. Many children in rural areas were forced to work, particularly in commercial agriculture, as domestics, as well as to engage in prostitution. The major factors contributing to the worst forms of child labor were chronic family poverty, lack of employment for adults, breakdown of family support mechanisms, the changing economic environment, lack of educational opportunities, gender inequality, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Children, including those under the age of 15, commonly worked on family farms in seasonal harvests or on commercial plantations, where they picked cotton or tea leaves and were paid on a piecework basis.

Namibia

According to the UNHCR, approximately 6,400 refugees resided in Osire Refugee Camp, and another 1,300 lived outside the camp among the general population. Approximately 5,600 of the refugees were from Angola; the others were primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. During the year the government issued identification cards to all refugees to facilitate travel outside the camp. Nevertheless, some refugees complained that they were still prevented from working outside the refugee camp. Education through grade 10 was available to all refugees, and the government facilitated further secondary education for students with financial sponsorship at schools outside the camp. The government provided antiretroviral therapy to refugees infected with HIV/AIDS.

Child prostitution occurred, generally without third-party involvement, and primarily as a means of survival among HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children. The growing number of HIV/AIDS orphans increased the vulnerability of children to sexual abuse and exploitation.

During the year the government took several steps to provide medical care and other assistance to approximately 250,000 HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. For example, the government reduced or eliminated school fees and provided social grants for such children.

There were no reports of discrimination against workers because of their HIV/AIDS status, although high-level officials conceded that societal discrimination against and stigmatization of persons living with HIV/AIDS was a problem. The government supported the work of the Namibia Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS.

The government has introduced several programs aimed at supporting children to stay in school and away from the labor market. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and the Ministry of Health and Social Services coordinated welfare programs for orphans, including those affected by HIV/AIDS, by providing grants and scholarships to keep them in school. Additionally, the government collaborated with the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Namibia Farm Workers Union to eliminate child labor through awareness campaigns. The government also continued to work with NGOs such as Project Hope to assist the victims of child labor.

Nauru

There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Nepal

During the year Maiti Nepal's head office rescued and repatriated 71 children and women from India and the Gulf countries. Many had been expelled from their brothels after contracting sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis. Most were destitute, and according to estimates by Maiti Nepal and ABC Nepal, 50 percent were HIV-positive. Maiti Nepal operated a hospice for HIV-positive trafficking victims and their children. Another NGO, Shakti Samuha, rehabilitated 38 girls and women during 2007.

Netherlands, The

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

New Zealand

The law also prohibits violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. From January 1 to December 23, the HRC received four complaints relating to HIV/AIDS. There were no reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Nicaragua

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, language, or social status. In practice the government often did not enforce these legal protections, and aggrieved persons filed few discrimination suits or formal complaints. There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination against persons of Afro-Caribbean descent, indigenous communities, homosexuals, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

The law provides specific protections for persons with HIV/AIDS against employment and health services discrimination. However, persons with HIV/AIDS continued to suffer societal discrimination based on their alleged HIV/AIDS or sexual orientation status. Several NGOs worked to educate communities regarding HIV/AIDS discrimination. Communities often stigmatized persons with HIV/AIDS, and there was a general lack of awareness and education among the public and health care professionals regarding prevention, treatment, and transmission of HIV/AIDS.

On June 30, the Public Ministry announced that it was bringing charges against health care professionals Martha Zuniga Trujillo, Amelia Membreno, and Meyling Castro Ubeda for allegedly misdiagnosing Maria Josefa Rivera Castro as having AIDS in 2001 and publicizing that mistaken diagnosis. At year's end a judge was reviewing the case.

Niger

Persons with HIV/AIDS experienced social discrimination. There were strong government efforts to discourage such discrimination. The government continued its antidiscrimination campaign in conjunction with several other organizations working on HIV/AIDS issues.

Nigeria

Disease was pervasive in the cramped, poorly ventilated facilities, and chronic shortages of medical supplies were reported. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis were of particular concern. Only those with money or whose relatives brought food regularly had sufficient food; prison officials routinely stole money provided for food for prisoners. Poor inmates often relied on handouts from others to survive. Beds or mattresses were not provided to many inmates, forcing them to sleep on concrete floors, often without a blanket. Prison officials, police, and other security forces often denied inmates food and medical treatment as punishment or to extort money. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued to provide health and hygiene items to prisoners during the year.

Many children were homeless and lived on the streets. There were no known statistics on their numbers. Major factors that caused children to turn to the streets included instability in the home, poverty, hunger, abuse and violence by parents, and displacement caused by clashes in the community. HIV/AIDS also greatly increased the numbers of orphaned street children.

There was widespread discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, which the public considered a disease resulting from immoral behavior. Persons living with HIV/AIDS often lost their jobs or were denied health care services. Public education campaigns were implemented to reduce stigma and change perceptions of the disease.

In September the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Malaria announced an initiative to pair up HIV-positive couples for marriage in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. The couples were introduced during counseling sessions and had the right to say yes or no to a partner suggestion. By year's end more than 70 HIV positive couples were matched and married. UNAIDS voiced concern over the plan due to the increased risk of passing the virus on to any children born and the possibility of leaving the children orphaned.

Norway

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Oman

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Pakistan

According to the government’s National Aids Control Program (NACP), there was no observed discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status observed in the government service. Societal attitudes toward HIV-positive individuals are changing slowly, but social discrimination lingers.

The NACP reported there were approximately 90,000 HIV-positive individuals in the country, and approximately 50 percent of those lived in Sindh Province. The report stated that "entrenched age-old social attitudes, practices, and stereotyping, which often lead to violence against women, coupled with unequal access to economic resources, are hampering progress toward dealing with the spread of HIV/AIDS."

In cooperation with donors and the UN, the government established the NACP, which managed a campaign to educate its citizens about AIDS. NACP held rallies and public campaigns, and spoke in mosques about birth control and AIDS awareness.

Palau

There were no reports of cases of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Panama

Prison authorities provided inadequate medical care. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and other communicable diseases were common among the prison population. Through early September, 25 prisoners died of such causes as AIDS, stabbing, and cardiac arrest. During the year only 15 physicians served the prison system; they provided medical attention during limited morning hours. In February a 60-bed clinic opened at La Joyita.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS in employment and education, but discrimination continued to be common due to ignorance of the law and a lack of mechanisms for ensuring compliance. The Ministry of Health and Social Security provided treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Papua New Guinea

There were no reports of government discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, there was a strong societal stigma attached to HIV/AIDS infection that prevented some individuals from seeking HIV/AIDS related services, and there were reports that companies dismissed HIV positive employees after learning of their condition.

Paraguay

CODEHUPY noted that individuals with HIV/AIDS faced discrimination in health care, education, and employment, as well as social intimidation.

Peru

Prison conditions were harsh. The National Penitentiary Institute (INPE) operated 56 of the country's 85 prisons, and the National Police (PNP) has jurisdiction over the rest. Prisoners with money had access to cellular telephones, illicit drugs, and meals prepared outside the prison. Conditions were poor to extremely harsh in facilities for prisoners who lacked funds. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate nutrition and health care were serious problems. Inmates had intermittent access to running water, bathing facilities were inadequate, kitchen facilities were unhygienic, and prisoners slept in hallways and common areas for lack of cell space. Prisoners had access to illegal drugs, and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS were reportedly at near-epidemic levels. Authorities at the San Juan de Lurigancho men's prison held 10,230 prisoners in a facility designed for 1,500. On December 10, INPE opened a new women's prison, Tarapaca, which reduced substantially overcrowding at the Santa Monica prison in Chorrillos.

Homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS faced extensive discrimination and harassment. The Ministry of the Interior Handbook of Human Rights Applied to the Civil Police stipulates that police must respect human rights, especially of the most vulnerable groups, and refers explicitly to the human rights of lesbians, gays, and transvestites. The Ministry of Health (MINSA) implemented policies to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation.

MINSA executed policies to combat discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status, including a four-year strategic plan to prevent and control HIV/AIDS. On December 1, as part of "World Day to Combat AIDS," MINSA and the Office of the Multinational Coordinator of Health gave free antiretroviral treatment to 12,500 persons with HIV/AIDS.

Philippines

The law prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and provides basic health and social services for these persons. However, there was some evidence of discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients in the provision of health care, housing, and insurance services. The rate of HIV/AIDS remained low, although the rate of infection was believed to be underreported. Overseas workers were required to participate in an HIV/AIDS class as part of a predeparture orientation seminar.

Poland

There were some reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

According to the Government AIDS Center, there were two reported incidents of discrimination during the year. One case involved police discrimination and the other a healthcare institution which refused to treat the persons living in a homeless shelter if they did not provide a certificate that they are HIV negative.

Portugal

According to a 2007 university study, "Drugs and Portuguese Prisons," approximately 10 percent of the total prison population was infected with HIV/AIDS and approximately 15 percent was infected with hepatitis C.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Qatar

There was discrimination against HIV patients. HIV-positive foreigners, whose condition was typically diagnosed during their medical examinations upon arriving in the country, were deported. HIV-positive citizens were quarantined and received treatment.

Romania

There were continued reports of violence and discrimination against women as well as significant lapses in the protection of children's rights. Persons were trafficked for sexual exploitation and also for labor and forced begging. The neglect of and inadequate assistance for persons with disabilities was a problem. While there were no confirmed reports of societal violence against Roma this year, extensive discrimination against Roma continued to be a problem. Homosexuals continued to suffer societal discrimination. Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly children, was a serious problem.

APADOR‑CH reported that prison meals did not provide the minimum necessary calories, water at some prisons was unsuitable for drinking, and access to health care was limited by a lack of doctors. According to an order issued by the National Authority of Penitentiaries, effective July 2007, prison doctors were authorized to treat only prisoners and not the prison staff and their families. APADOR-CH, ACCEPT, and the Center for Legal Resources (CRJ) also stated that daily activities, work opportunities, and educational programs continued to be insufficient. The government continued some efforts, including partnerships with NGOs, to alleviate harsh conditions and deter the spread of HIV and tuberculosis.

Authorities rarely enforced laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with HIV. Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS impeded access to routine medical and dental care. Breaches of confidentiality involving individuals' HIV status were common and rarely punished.

A 2006 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report noted widespread discrimination faced by children with HIV/AIDS and authorities' failure to protect them from discrimination, abuse, and neglect. According to the report, fewer than 60 percent of children and youths with HIV/AIDS attended school. Doctors often refused to treat children and youths with HIV/AIDS. Medical personnel, school officials, and government employees did not maintain confidentiality of information about the children, which caused the children and families to be denied services such as schooling. In some situations children and their parents were threatened by parents of other children to keep them out of school. There were also reports that children without any mental disability were placed in centers for children with mental disabilities because they were HIV‑positive.

Over half of HIV‑infected adolescents were sexually active; they frequently experienced reduced access to facilities for reproductive health care and the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. The 2006 HRW report found that although the country provides universal access to antiretroviral therapy, stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS frequently impeded their access to education, medical care, government services, and employment. The government lacked a strategy to manage the transition of HIV‑positive children living in institutions or foster care after they turned 18. Fewer than 60 percent of HIV‑positive children and adolescents attended some form of schooling.

During the year the government cooperated with international organizations to implement a national AIDS strategy by conducting conferences and disseminating brochures to raise public awareness of the disease.

Russia

In May, following a public outcry and the intervention of the human rights ombudsman, Ministry of Justice's Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (FSIN) prison authorities moved former Yukos Oil Company vice president Vasiliy Aleksanyan, who was HIV positive and diagnosed with lymphoma cancer, to a hospital. After a lengthy campaign by human rights activists to secure his release, in December the ECHR ruled that the country had violated Aleksanyan's rights and that he must be freed on bail. Aleksanyan was accordingly freed on bail of 50 million rubles ($1,373,513). Some commentators found the sum to be excessive, and others criticized the long wait for his release, noting that upon release he was too weak to move.

In past years official statistics recorded several thousand prisoners dying in SIZOs, and in November 2007 the FSIN reported that during the period 2001-07 the mortality rate decreased by 3.8 times. However, official statistics were not available during the year. While most died as a result of poor sanitary conditions or lack of medical care, the press reported that individuals were mistreated, injured, or killed in various SIZOs. Some of the cases reported in past years suggested habitual abuse by officers. Inmates in the prison system often suffered from inadequate medical care, and the numbers of inmates infected with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV increased. According to FSIN data, as of November 2007, approximately 400,000 inmates had mental disorders, 43,000 had active TB, and 42,000 had HIV. TB infection rates were far higher in detention facilities than in the population at large.

There were no developments in the 2006 kidnappings of Yelena Yersenoyeva, the widow of Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev and a journalist and HIV/AIDS activist in Groznyy, and her mother.

Government human rights institutions challenged local government activities, promoted the concept of human rights, and intervened in selected abuse complaints. Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin commented on a range of human rights problems, such as police violence, prison conditions, the treatment of children, and hazing in the military. During the year Lukin criticized intolerance and the growing wave of ethnic, religious, sociopolitical, and human hatred in the country. Lukin defended the rights of participants in the dissenters' marches, noting that the constitution states clearly that citizens have a right to participate in meetings and marches and that only notification of the authorities is required to hold meetings and marches, not permission from the government. Lukin's office and individual members of the Public Chamber intervened in May to convince the FSIN to move former Yukos Oil Company vice president Vasili Aleksanyan, who was HIV positive and diagnosed with lymphoma cancer, to a hospital following a public outcry over his poor treatment in the prison clinic. In August 2007, his office intervened to help secure the release from an Apetity psychiatric institution of Other Russia activist Larisa Arap, who had been involuntarily hospitalized. Lukin assembled a panel of independent experts, who examined Arap and testified that she should be released.

Persons with HIV/AIDS often encountered discrimination. Federal AIDS law contains antidiscrimination provisions but was frequently not enforced. HRW reported that HIV-positive mothers and their children faced discrimination in accessing healthcare, employment, and education. Persons with HIV/AIDS found themselves alienated from their families, employers, and medical service providers. In 2006, the Moscow city Duma criticized the activities of foreign NGOs that fight HIV/AIDS for allegedly encouraging pedophilia, prostitution, and drug use among teenagers.

Rwanda

There were a number of deaths in prison during the year, largely the result of preventable diseases and suspected cases of HIV/AIDS. The government operated HIV/AIDS counseling and treatment programs in five of the country's prisons, and prison deaths from preventable disease and other causes had stabilized at rates approximately similar to those found in the general population.

Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, there were numerous households headed by children, some of whom resorted to prostitution to survive.

The country was a source for small numbers of women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation, domestic labor, and soldiering. The largest trafficking problem was underage prostitution; small numbers of impoverished girls, typically between the ages of 14 and 18, used prostitution as a means of survival, and some were exploited by loosely organized prostitution networks. Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, numerous children headed households, and some of these children resorted to prostitution or may have been trafficked into domestic servitude. While police reportedly conducted regular operations against prostitution, no statistics were available on prosecutions of those who utilized or exploited children in prostitution.

Discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS occurred, although such incidents continued to decrease. The government actively supported public education campaigns on the issue, including the establishment of HIV/AIDS awareness clubs in secondary schools and making public pronouncements against the stigmatization of the disease. Members of the military with HIV/AIDS are not permitted to participate in peacekeeping missions abroad, but remain in the military.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.

Saint Lucia

There was widespread stigma and discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS, although the government implemented several programs to address this issue, including a five-year program to combat HIV/AIDS. The UN Population Fund also provided support for youth-oriented HIV/AIDS prevention programs. An HIV-positive woman who worked for the government quit in protest over demeaning conditions in the workplace after her supervisor mandated that she use the restroom at specific times only, after which staff would clean the restroom.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The SVGHRA reported that prison problems such as endemic violence, understaffing, underpaid guards, uncontrolled weapons and drugs, increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, and unhygienic conditions persisted. Corrupt prison staff commonly served as a source of drugs, weapons, and cell phones. The SVGHRA also alleged that guards routinely beat prisoners to extract information regarding escapes, violence, and crime committed in the prison.

Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested there was some societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Samoa

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

San Marino

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Sao Tome and Principe

Persons with HIV/AIDS were often rejected by their communities and shunned by their families. However, there were no reports that workers were discriminated against due to their HIV/AIDS status. As in the previous year, there were a number of government-sponsored workshops and awareness campaigns to reduce such instances. The government also provided free AIDS testing and distributed antiretroviral drugs to all recognized patients.

Saudi Arabia

According to the Basic Law, the media's role is to educate the masses and promote national unity. Media outlets can legally be banned or publication temporarily halted if they are deemed to promote "mischief and discord, compromise the security of the state and its public image," or if it "offends a man's dignity and rights." The government continued to restrict freedom of speech and press by interrupting publication and dissemination of news sources critical of the royal family or of Islam. Authorities prevented or delayed distribution of foreign print media, effectively censoring these media and publications. During the year media discussions took place that tested the boundaries of permissible topics for media coverage, including political and social reforms, actions of government ministries, domestic and child abuse, rights of women and human rights, corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, crime rates and violence, trafficking in persons, HIV/AIDS, and the religious police.

There was no overt discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, although the disease is treated as a social taboo. Press reports indicated the disease was found in noncitizens. By law foreign workers were required to provide a health certification proving they did not have HIV/AIDS before entering the country.

Senegal

As a result of both government and NGO HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns, persons with HIV or AIDS were increasingly accepted in society.

On December 19, police raided the home of Diadji Diouf, the director of AIDES Senegal, an NGO provides HIV prevention services. The police arrested Diouf and seven men; they remained in custody at the end of the year.

Serbia

According to media reports, in 2007 nine prisoners committed suicide, 67 inmates attempted suicide, and 215 prisoners physically injured themselves as a sign of protest. There were 352 hunger strikes, and the incidence of infectious diseases and addiction increased. Prison authorities registered 6,580 substance abusers, 27 HIV positive inmates, and 1,931 cases of hepatitis B and C.

NGOs reported acts of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, including job loss and harassment from neighbors. NGOs and some health workers also reported that some medical workers discriminated against persons with HIV/AIDS. In 2007 the NGO Sunce stated that fear of discrimination prevented many persons from seeking testing, and, as a result, the actual number of HIV-positive persons in the country was as much as ten times greater than the 2,088 reported HIV cases. Health Ministry research on groups at risk from contracting HIV indicated that there was a need to adopt a code to regulate treatment of individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Seychelles

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Sierra Leone

The law prohibits discrimination based on actual, perceived, or suspected HIV status; however, persons with HIV/AIDS were stigmatized in society. There was no official discrimination against HIV/AIDS positive persons.

Singapore

Some individuals with HIV/AIDS claimed that they were socially marginalized and faced employment discrimination if they revealed they were suffering from the disease. The government discouraged discrimination, supported initiatives that countered misperceptions about HIV/AIDS, and publicly praised employers that welcomed workers with HIV/AIDS.

Slovak Republic

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Slovenia

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Solomon Islands

While there were fewer than 200 confirmed HIV/AIDS cases, there were reports that HIV-positive individuals were often disowned by their families.

Somalia

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening in all regions of the country. The main Somaliland prison in Hargeisa, designed for 150 inmates, held more than 700 prisoners. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack of access to health care, and inadequate food and water persisted in prisons throughout the country. Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and pneumonia were widespread. Abuse by guards was common. Detainees' families and clans generally were expected to pay the costs of detention. In many areas prisoners depended on food received from family members or from relief agencies.

Laws prohibiting rape exist; however, they were not enforced. There were no laws against spousal rape. There were no reports that rape cases were prosecuted during the year. NGOs documented patterns of rape perpetrated with impunity, particularly of women displaced from their homes due to civil conflict or who were members of minority clans. Police and militia members engaged in rape, and rape was commonly practiced in interclan conflicts. Traditional approaches to dealing with rape tended to ignore the victim's situation and instead communalized the resolution or compensation for rape through a negotiation between members of the perpetrator's and the victim's clans. Victims suffered from subsequent discrimination based on attributions of "impurity." Women and girls in IDP camps were especially vulnerable to sexual violence, contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS. In March the UNIE reported that in Mogadishu and Kismayo IDP women and girls, particularly those belonging to minority groups, were increasingly becoming the targets of sexual violence by youth gangs. In Somaliland gang rape continued to be a problem in urban areas, primarily by youth gangs, members of police forces, and male students. Many of these cases occurred in poorer neighborhoods and among immigrants, refugee returnees, and displaced rural populations living in urban areas. Many cases were not reported.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination and abuse in their local communities, and by employers in all parts of the country. UNICEF reported that persons with HIV/AIDS were subjected to physical abuse, rejected by their families, and subjected to workplace discrimination and dismissal. Children whose parent(s) were HIV-positive also suffered discrimination, which hindered prevention efforts and access to services.

South Africa

The majority of the 237 operational prisons did not meet international standards, and prison conditions did not always meet the country's minimum legal requirements. According to the latest Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIP) report for the period from April 2007, through March 31, 2008, there were 165,987 prisoners in facilities designed to hold 114,559. Of these, 6,615 inmates were foreign nationals, primarily from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Due to severe overcrowding, many prisoners had less than 13 square feet in which to eat, sleep, and spend 23 hours a day. The unmet norm applied to prisons for floor space per prisoner is approximately 36 square feet for communal space and 60 for single cells. According to the JIP report, there were 1,136 prison deaths in 2007-08, 1,056 of them from natural causes, including HIV/AIDS; the remaining 80 deaths were the result of suicides, assaults, or accidents.

A 2008 Department of Correctional Services (DCS) study on HIV/AIDS indicated 19.8 percent of sentenced prisoners between the ages of 15 and 49 were HIV-positive. However, NGOs working on HIV/AIDS in prisons believed that the percentage of HIV-positive prisoners was higher than that of the general population's 25 percent. The DCS had 16 centers dispensing antiretroviral (ARV) therapy to approximately 3,500 sentenced prisoners during the year.

According to the 2007-08 JIP report, there were 1,498 complaints of assault by inmates on inmates and 1,004 complaints of assault by staff on inmates. There were several reports of physical and sexual abuse by both prison officials and prisoners. Some detainees awaiting trial reportedly contracted HIV/AIDS through rape.

There continued to be reports of rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and assaults of girls at school by teachers, students, and other persons in the school community. The law requires schools to disclose sexual abuse to the authorities; however, administrators often concealed sexual violence or delayed disciplinary action. The level of sexual violence in schools also increased the risk for girls of contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as unwanted pregnancies.

HIV/AIDS activists, physicians, and opposition parties continued to criticize the government for failing to provide ARV therapy to all pregnant and breastfeeding women and thereby protect young children from HIV/AIDS transmission. In March the government issued new guidelines, consistent with those of the World Health Organization, to provide dual therapy, instead of nevirapine alone, to HIV-positive women nationwide to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission; however, the new program reached only an estimated 30 percent of targeted women during the year. The government expanded the number of prenatal clinics but was not able to keep up with the rapidly growing number of children affected by HIV/AIDS, including both infected children and AIDS orphans.

The high incidence of HIV/AIDS resulted in an increase in the number of child-headed households. These children sometimes turned to prostitution to support themselves and their siblings. Other children have been trafficked and forced into prostitution. NGOs provided shelter and medical and legal assistance for children in prostitution and a hotline for victims of child abuse. The government donated land and buildings for shelters for such children, as well as other victims of sexual abuse, street children, and orphans.

AIDS activists alleged that children in prostitution were often highly sought after because of the widely held belief that sex with a virgin provided a cure for HIV/AIDS. SAPS officials, however, said that under questioning perpetrators usually admitted they knew this claim was false.

Despite outreach programs to discourage the practice, ritual circumcision of males, including children, usually by medically unqualified practitioners, was still a prevalent initiation tradition in various areas. Circumcision was considered a precondition for adult status, enabling marriage, inheritance, and other societal privileges. The House of Traditional Leaders attempted to address unsafe initiation practices and designed strategies to prevent deaths and the spread of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. However, discussing the practice was taboo in many communities where it was considered a matter for chiefs to decide, and some traditional leaders spoke out against state interference.

With availability of life-saving ARV treatments, civil society activities such as the Treatment Action Campaign, and government campaigns to reduce discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, the social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS began to decline but remained a general problem.

In May the soldiers' South African Security Force Union (SASFU) sued the SANDF for allegedly discriminatory HIV/AIDS policies. On May 17, the Constitutional Court ruled that SANDF must conduct individualized health assessments of members of the armed forces and SANDF could not exclude HIV positive persons from recruitment, external deployments, or promotions.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic contributed to the number of households headed by children who supported themselves and often younger siblings. However, in its 2007-08 Child Gauge Report, the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town stated that there was little evidence of recent rapid growth in the orphan population due to HIV/AIDS. Citing the government's 2006 General Household Survey, which estimated that child-headed households accounted for 0.7 percent of all children and 0.5 percent of all households, the Children's Institute noted that the levels had remained relatively stable since the survey began in 2002.

Spain

There were no reports of major societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Sri Lanka

There was no official discrimination against those who provided HIV prevention services or against high‑risk groups likely to spread HIV/AIDS, although there was societal discrimination against these groups.

Sudan

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status.

Suriname

The law prohibits discrimination based on race and ethnicity but does not address discrimination based on disability, language, or social status. While the law does not specifically prohibit gender discrimination, it provides for protection of women's rights to equal access to education, employment, and property. In practice various sectors of the population, such as women, Maroons, Amerindians, persons with HIV/AIDS, and homosexuals, suffered various forms of discrimination.

Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors remained a problem. According to the Mamio Namen Project Foundation, an NGO working to assist HIV infected persons, increased sex tourism led to continued sexual exploitation of children, with a marked increase in the exploitation of young boys. Two NGOs provided shelters for homeless boys.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to experience societal discrimination in employment and medical services. An NGO working with HIV infected persons reported that law enforcement agencies and the fire department conducted HIV testing as part of their hiring procedures.

The Ministry of Health continued its efforts to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, through a comprehensive outreach program involving local health care providers, which achieved its goal of voluntary testing of 90 percent of expectant mothers. The military continued its ongoing HIV/AIDS awareness program among troops.

Swaziland

Rape and consensual sex between prisoners contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS, although prevention programs have been introduced in correctional facilities. There are medical clinics in correctional facilities, and prisoners are offered free HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, and antiretroviral treatment.

The constitution states that "a woman shall not be compelled to undergo or uphold any custom to which she is in conscience opposed"; however, traditional family practices may treat a woman as an outcast if she refuses to undergo the mourning rite. When the husband dies, his widow must remain in strict mourning for one month, during which time she cannot leave the house, and the husband's family can move into the homestead and take control of its operations. In some cases the mourning period can last for years. During the year the media reported that widows and children heading households sometimes became homeless as a result of the custom and were forced to seek public assistance, a development exacerbated by the country's high rate of HIV/AIDS. The 2006-07 Demographic and Health Survey found that 6 percent of women between 15 and 49 years of age were widows, half of whom had been dispossessed of property.

Child abuse, including rape of children and incest, was a serious problem, but the crime was rarely reported, perpetrators of abuse were seldom punished, and penalties seldom matched the crime. Many children became HIV positive as a result of rape. A study released by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in April found that one in three women in the country has suffered some form of sexual abuse as a child and that one in four experienced physical violence. Most sexual assaults of girls occurred at home, and less than half of sexual assaults were reported. Disabled children, children out of school, and orphans were at particular risk. Punishment for child abuse was minimal, and even the perpetrators of abuse that resulted in death were generally fined no more than 200 emalangeni ($21).

The legal age of marriage is 18 for both men and women. However, with parental consent and approval from the minister of justice, girls can marry at age 16. The government recognized two types of marriage: civil marriage and marriage under law and custom. Traditional marriages under law and custom can be with girls as young as 14. Critics of the royal family said the king's many wives and young fiancees, some of whom were 16 years old, set a poor example in a country with an HIV/AIDS prevalence at 33.4 percent among persons between 15 and 49 years of age.

The law prohibits prostitution and child pornography, provides protection to children less than 16 years of age from sexual exploitation, and sets the age of sexual consent at 16 years. There were reports that girls worked as prostitutes, including vulnerable children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and street children.

There were growing numbers of street children in Mbabane and Manzini. A large and increasing number of HIV/AIDS orphans were cared for by aging relatives or neighbors, or they struggled to survive in child‑headed households. Some lost their property to adult relatives. NGOs, such as the National Emergency Response Committee on HIV and AIDS, a private group partly funded by the government and by international donors, assisted some AIDS orphans.

With more than 10 percent of households headed by children, UNICEF supported school feeding programs, established a number of neighborhood care points, and provided nutritional support to children weakened by AIDS.

There was a social stigma associated with being HIV positive, which discouraged persons from being tested, despite public relations campaigns to promote testing. Nevertheless, there were often long lines of persons waiting to be tested during prevention campaigns, especially among the young. The military encouraged testing and did not discriminate against those testing positive.

Sweden

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Switzerland

There were occasional reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. On World Aids Day, the Swiss Aids Federation launched a new awareness campaign to combat prejudices and workplace discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Syria

There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. However, there was a belief among human rights activists that the extent of the problem was widely underreported.

Taiwan

There were no laws prohibiting homosexual activities. According to homosexual rights activists, antihomosexual violence was rare, but societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV and AIDS was a problem.
 
An amendment of the AIDS Prevention and Control Act allows foreign spouses infected with HIV to remain in Taiwan if they can show they were infected by their spouse, or by medical treatment received while in Taiwan. The amended law, renamed the HIV Prevention and Patients' Rights Protection Act, also stipulates that HIV-infected citizens cannot be denied access to education, medical services, housing, or other necessities.

Tajikistan

During the year detainees and inmates complained of harsh and life-threatening conditions, including overcrowding and lack of sanitary conditions. Disease and hunger were serious problems, but outside observers were unable to assess accurately the extent of the problems because of lack of access. Organizations that work on prison issues reported that infection rates of tuberculosis and HIV was significant, and that the quality of medical treatment was low.

There was also a stigma associated with HIV infection. There were reports that doctors denied some HIV positive patients treatment at medical facilities.

Tanzania

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Diseases were common and resulted in numerous deaths in prisons. According to NGO reports, the leading causes of death were malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, cholera, and diseases related to poor sanitation. Prison dispensaries offered only limited treatment, and friends and family members of prisoners generally had to provide medications or the funds to purchase them. In February 2007, in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in prisons, the government established 12 voluntary counseling and testing centers to provide services to penal institutions.

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on nationality, ethnicity, political affiliation, race, social status, or religion. The law requires that anyone who wants to become a citizen must live in the country for at least 10 years, have no criminal record, and be able to speak Swahili. However, the government did not always effectively enforce these prohibitions. Discrimination based on gender, age, or disability was not explicitly prohibited by law but was discouraged publicly in official statements and by government policies. Discrimination against women, refugees, minorities, and persons with HIV/AIDS persisted, and ethnic tensions continued in some parts of the country.

The Tanzania Parliamentarians' AIDS Coalition addressed discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS. However, there were reports that discrimination in housing, healthcare, and education continued to occur against the estimated 1.4 million persons in the country living with HIV/AIDS. The government, working with NGOs, continued to sensitize the public about HIV/AIDS-related discrimination and to create safeguards for HIV/AIDS patients' human rights.A network of lawyers, policymakers, and doctors continued lobbying efforts and other activities to deal with legal, ethical, and human rights problems associated with HIV/AIDS.

Thailand

A few domestic violence crimes were prosecuted under provisions for assault or violence against a person. Domestic violence frequently went unreported, and police often were reluctant to pursue reports of domestic violence. NGO supported programs included emergency hotlines, temporary shelters, and counseling services to increase awareness of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and other issues involving women. The government's crisis centers, located in some state-run hospitals, continued to care for abused women and children, although several centers faced budget difficulties. State-run hospitals referred victims to external organizations when services at a hospital were not available. The crisis centers reported that they had received 26,565 reports of violent abuse between October 2007 and September 2008.

Persons with HIV/AIDS faced the psychological stigma associated with rejection by family, friends, and the community, although intensive educational outreach efforts may have reduced this stigma in some communities. There were reports that some employers refused to hire persons who tested HIV-positive following employer-mandated blood screening. According to the Thailand Business Coalition on AIDS, an estimated 7,000 businesses pledged not to require HIV/AIDS tests for employees or discharge infected employees and vowed to hold regular awareness campaigns.

Timor-Leste

There were no reported cases of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Togo

A 2005 law prohibits discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS. The government sponsored broadcasts aimed at dissuading discrimination. However, persons infected with HIV/AIDS continued to face significant societal discrimination.

Tonga

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Trinidad and Tobago

No mention.

Tunisia

There is anecdotal evidence that people with HIV/AIDS face some forms of discrimination. While there were NGOs to assist persons living with HIV, they faced discrimination in the quality of and in their access to medical care.

Turkey

No mention.

Turkmenistan

No mention.

Tuvalu

Persons with HIV/AIDS faced some societal discrimination. Local agents of foreign companies that hired seafarers from Tuvalu to work abroad barred persons with HIV/AIDS from employment. The government and NGOs cooperated to inform the public about HIV/AIDS and to counter discrimination.

Uganda

Prison conditions came closest to meeting international standards in Kampala, where medical care, running water, and sanitation were provided; however, these prisons also were among the most overcrowded. There were an estimated 26,000 prisoners in the prison system at the end of July, approximately three times the capacity. Severe overcrowding was also a problem at juvenile detention facilities and in female wings of prisons. The Kampala remand home, designed for 45 persons, held 131 children. The reception center, designed for 30 prisoners, held 63 juveniles under the age of 12. Serious problems in prisons outside of Kampala included congestion, inadequate staff, and lack of food, water, medical care, and bedding, although FHRI reported that access to medical care improved during the year, especially for HIV/AIDS patients in prisons in Lira, Apac, and Lusira.

During the year the CID charged several individuals in connection with the investigation of stolen money from the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. On October 22, police in Kampala arrested Teddy Cheeye, director of economic affairs in the President's Office, over the mismanagement of 120 million shillings ($63,993) of global fund money for HIV/AIDS vaccines. A court in Kampala found Cheeye guilty on eight counts of forgery, nine of making false entry, eight of uttering a false document, and one of embezzlement. Cheeye, who pled guilty to all counts, was remanded to Luzira Prison, and his case remained pending at year's end.

Homosexuals faced discrimination and legal restrictions. It is illegal for homosexuals to engage in sexual acts, based on a legal provision that criminalizes "carnal acts against the order of nature" with a penalty of life imprisonment, although no homosexual has been charged under the law. Public resentment of homosexuality sparked significant public debate during the year. The government took a strong position against the practice. The local NGO SMUG protested alleged police harassment of several members for their vocal stand against sexual discrimination.

On June 4, police arrested SMUG activists Pepe Julian Onziema, Valentine Kalende, and Usaam Mukwaya for trespassing. The activists, who did not have the required conference credentials, bypassed security at the HIV/AIDS Implementers' Conference in Kampala to protest the government's lack of funding to combat HIV/AIDS in the homosexual community. On June 6, the three were charged with criminal trespass and released on bail. On August 15, the government dropped the case.

International and local NGOs, in cooperation with the government, sponsored public awareness campaigns that aimed to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. In April the ILO reported in its publication "Saving Lives, Protecting Jobs" that workers in the country were becoming more supportive of their HIV‑positive colleagues. However, a July meeting of HIV/AIDS‑positive teachers, officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, and the National Teachers Union concluded that HIV positive teachers suffered stigma and discrimination inside and outside of school settings; the meeting was sponsored by UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and other organizations.

Counselors encouraged patients to be tested with their partners and family so that they all received information about living with HIV/AIDS. Persons living with HIV/AIDS formed support groups to promote awareness in their communities.

The ILO and the Federation of Uganda Employers sponsored a January survey on child labor in the fisheries and tobacco industries that found that most of the 291 children sampled worked long hours and that 71 percent were involved in hazardous work. Of the children involved with fisheries, 31 percent worked at night, and all were subjected to waterborne diseases, chest pains, fatigue, a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, and injuries. Children on tobacco farms worked long days, dropped out of school during peak periods of tobacco production, and were exposed to dangerous chemicals, smoke, and dust.

Ukraine

Specialized medication was frequently not available for HIV infected prisoners. According to HRW's annual report, there was no medication assisted treatment in prisons, which meant that drug users were forced to suffer from abrupt withdrawal when taken into custody.

On December 18, the ECHR found in favor of the family of Olha Biliak, who died in 2004 while in pretrial detention in the Lukianivka detention facility in Kyiv. Biliak's family claimed that the authorities failed to provide her with adequate medical treatment for HIV while she was in custody and failed to release her on medical grounds.

According to HRW, health workers often violated the privacy of persons with HIV/AIDS by disclosing confidential information about their HIV status.

The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and other grounds; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively, in part due to the continuing absence of an effective judicial system and in part because the law does not contain a mechanism providing protection against discrimination. Violence against women and children; gender  and age based discrimination; trafficking in persons; harassment and discrimination against ethnic minorities, homosexuals, individuals with disabilities, and persons with HIV/AIDS; and a rise in xenophobic violence were problems.

The All Ukrainian Network of Persons Living with HIV expressed concern about discrimination against HIV positive children in educational institutions. For example, on August 7, Ukrayina Moloda reported that an orphanage in Kirovohrad refused to admit a six-year old HIV positive boy abandoned by his mother. The NGO complained to the department of education in Kirovohrad, but the department refused to help, stating that there were no specialized facilities for HIV positive orphaned children in the oblast.

Persons with HIV/AIDS, who numbered 440,000 according to statistics compiled by international organizations, faced widespread discrimination and lacked access to treatment. Although the country's AIDS law incorporates protection of the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS, implementation remained weak, and state funding for treatment was insufficient. The All Ukrainian Network of Persons Living with HIV noted that persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination in the workplace; job loss without legal recourse; harassment by law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judicial authorities; and social isolation and stigmatization within their communities.

Other problems of concern included reports of ongoing police abuse of gays, threats by police to inform gays' families and employers of their lifestyle, and the lack of access to medical treatment and information for gay men on the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

United Arab Emirates

Prison conditions varied widely from emirate to emirate. Some prisons were overcrowded, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Conditions for female prisoners were equal to or slightly better than those for men. Prisoners convicted on national security grounds were held separately from the general populace. Conditions in these special sections were not significantly different from other parts of the prisons. There were credible reports that government officials discriminated against prisoners with HIV by separating them from the general prison population and by not granting commuted sentences or parole that other prisoners with similar records received.

Persons with HIV/AIDS and other diseases also faced discrimination. There were credible reports that government officials discriminated against prisoners with HIV by not granting commuted sentences or parole that other prisoners with similar records had received. Noncitizen residents infected with HIV, hepatitis types B and C, and tuberculosis were denied all healthcare benefits, quarantined, and deported. During the year the government deported 1,518 noncitizen residents infected with these diseases. The EHRA also reported that several women diagnosed with breast cancer were fired solely because of their illness and that hundreds of women were reluctant to undergo medical examinations to detect breast cancer for fear of losing their jobs if they received a positive diagnosis.

United Kingdom

There were no police reports of violence against anyone based on HIV infection, and no reports of discrimination against such persons during the year.

Uruguay

There were isolated reports of societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Uzbekistan

There was social stigma against HIV/AIDS patients. Persons living with HIV reported social isolation by neighbors, public agency workers, health personnel, law enforcement officers, landlords, and employers after their HIV status became known. Recruits in the armed services found to be HIV-positive were summarily expelled. The MOI's Department of Corrections continued efforts to raise awareness about the realities of HIV/AIDS in its training for prison staff. The government's restrictions on local NGOs left only a handful of functioning NGOs to assist and protect the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS.

During the year the government began a large-scale public awareness campaign under the slogan "We Will Stop AIDS!" to raise awareness regarding how HIV/AIDs is spread, caring for HIV/AIDS sufferers, and eliminating discrimination against them. As part of the campaign, the Ministry of Health broadcast television and radio programs and held charity events to raise funds for HIV-positive children.

Vanuatu

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against homosexuals, nor were there any such reports against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Venezuela

According to the NGO Citizen Action Against AIDS, persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS frequently were discriminated against at the workplace and often were refused access to government health services.

Vietnam

A number of Catholic clergy reported a continued easing of government control over activities in certain dioceses outside of Hanoi. In many places local government officials allowed the Catholic Church to conduct religious education classes (outside regular school hours) and charitable activities. The Ho Chi Minh City government continued to facilitate certain charitable activities of the Church in combating HIV/AIDS; however, educational activities and legal permits for some Catholic charities to operate as NGOs remained suspended. In October the government granted authority for Caritas to reopen an office following a 32-year absence.

There was no evidence of official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but societal discrimination against such persons existed. There were credible reports that persons with HIV/AIDS lost jobs or suffered from discrimination in the workplace or in finding housing, although such reports decreased. In a few cases, children of persons with HIV/AIDS were barred from schools, despite its being against the law. With the assistance of foreign donors, the national government and provincial authorities took steps to treat, assist, and accommodate persons with HIV/AIDS and decrease societal stigma and discrimination, although overall consistency was lacking. Religious charities were sometimes permitted to operate in this area.

Western Sahara

No mention.

Yemen

There were no public reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS; however, these topics are socially sensitive and not discussed publicly.

Zambia

In December 2007 a 14‑year‑old girl filed a civil suit against the attorney general and police officer Sitali Ikowa, alleging that Ikowa impregnated her and infected her with HIV during her May through August 2007 detention at Prospect Police Station. According to the claim filed before the Kabwe High Court and obtained by the LRF, Ikowa threatened and raped the girl on numerous occasions.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in prisons was estimated at 27 percent. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) was available to some prisoners with HIV/AIDS; however, poor nutrition often rendered ART ineffective.

Due to traditional and cultural inhibitions, most cases of violence against women and children went unreported; however, increased public awareness resulted in more reporting of such incidents to police and other authorities than in previous years. The VSU reported that victims often refused to cooperate and that forensic equipment needed to develop evidence was lacking. The government and NGOs expressed continued concern about violence against women. In a 2007 Human Rights Watch study, women reported that fear of retribution from their husbands often prevented them from seeking free access to HIV counseling and testing, as well as to treatment.

There were 1.2 million children under the age of 15 who were orphaned, approximately 800,000 of these as a result of HIV/AIDS. These children faced greater risks of child abuse, sexual abuse, and child labor. Approximately 75 percent of all households were caring for at least one orphan, and children headed approximately 7 percent of households due to the death of both parents. The government had programs to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS.

The government actively discouraged discrimination against those persons with HIV/AIDS; however, there was strong societal and employment discrimination against such individuals. Government officials made announcements discouraging such discrimination but made little headway in changing entrenched attitudes.

During the year children who had lost both parents to HIV/AIDS continued to migrate to urban areas where they lived on the streets. In urban areas children commonly engaged in street vending.

Zimbabwe

The government continued to use repressive laws to suppress freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, academic freedom, and movement. Government corruption remained widespread. High-ranking government officials made numerous public threats of violence against demonstrators and members of the opposition. A nearly three-month ban on the activities of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) exacerbated food insecurity and poverty. After the ban was lifted, security forces, war veteran groups, and provincial governors continued to interfere with NGO operations, hampering food distributions. Tens of thousands of citizens were displaced in the wake of election-related violence and instability, and the government impeded NGOs' efforts to assist them and other vulnerable populations. The following human rights violations also continued: violence and discrimination against women; trafficking of women and children; discrimination against persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and persons living with HIV/AIDS; harassment and interference with labor organizations critical of government policies; child labor; and forced labor, including of children.

Prison conditions remained harsh and life-threatening. The government's 42 prisons were designed for a maximum of 17,000 prisoners. In May the Ministry of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs reported that the country's prisons held between 22,000-24,000 prisoners; however, a local NGO reported that they actually held approximately 35,000 inmates. Prison guards beat and abused prisoners. Poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding persisted, which aggravated outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea, measles, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Human rights activists familiar with prison conditions reported constant shortages of food, water, electricity, clothing, and soap. According to the 2006 Solidarity Peace Trust and Institute for Justice and Reconciliation report Policing the State, "political arrestees are routinely and deliberately overcrowded, with 30 or more people being kept at times in cells intended for six," and those "who have been severely beaten by the police and have fractures and other injuries, are routinely denied any access to health care or medication for varying periods of time." In June then-Deputy Attorney General Johannes Tomana acknowledged overcrowding and stated, "jail is not nice. It is not meant to be nice." Tomana was appointed Attorney General in December.

Most prison deaths were attributed to harsh conditions, hunger, and HIV/AIDS. In 2006 a local NGO estimated that 52 percent of prisoners were HIV-positive. In 2006 Zimbabwe Prisons Service Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi described the mortality rate in prisons as a "cause for concern." In November the local press reported that some prisoners with hunger-related health conditions were released from prisons.

In 2005 the government embarked on Operation Murambatsvina (loosely translated from Shona as "Restore Order" or "Get Rid of the Filth") without prior notice, during which more than 700,000 persons lost their homes, their means of livelihood, or both through a program of forced evictions. The government's stated reason for the operation was to curb illegal economic activities and crime in slums and illegal settlements in several cities and towns, but it made no provision for the victims of its policy. Those who returned to rural areas often faced unemployment, food shortages, and other economic and social stresses. According to the AI report Zimbabwe: Between a Rock and a Hard Place–Women Human Rights Defenders at Risk, the operation resulted in the destruction of more than 32,500 small and microbusinesses across the country and created a loss of livelihood for more than 97,550 persons, most of whom were women. An estimated 300,000 children lost access to education as a result of displacement. The operation disrupted access to medical care, particularly for HIV/AIDS patients. The government reportedly prevented or interfered with UN and other humanitarian organizations' efforts to provide shelter and food assistance. The government's actions were widely condemned by local civil society organizations and the international community.

In November the Inspector General of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria revealed that the government had misused $7.3 million of its $12.3 million grant. For several months, local organizations providing life-saving medical assistance were unable to access the funds, which were being held by the Reserve Bank because the government had reallocated the funds for other purposes. Due to the government's failure to use the money appropriately, only 495 of an intended 27,000 health workers received training in proper distribution of HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria drugs. Shortly after the misallocation became public, the government returned the funds to the Global Fund's account.

The law makes rape and nonconsensual sex between married partners a crime; however, few cases of rape, especially spousal rape, were reported to authorities because women were unaware that spousal rape was a crime and feared losing the support of their families, particularly in rural areas. The criminal code defines sexual offenses as rape, sodomy, incest, indecent assault, or immoral or indecent acts with a child or person with mental disabilities and provides for penalties up to life in prison for sexual crimes. Police acted on reported rape cases not associated with political violence, and the government media frequently published stories denouncing rape and reporting convictions. In many cases the victims knew their rapists. The criminal code also makes it a crime to knowingly infect anyone with HIV. Local NGOs dealing with women's rights reported that rape cases were brought to the court and there were convictions; however, statistics were unavailable.

Several active women's rights groups concentrated on improving women's knowledge of their legal rights, increasing their economic power, combating domestic violence, and protecting women against domestic violence and sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Child abuse, including incest, infanticide, child abandonment, and rape continued to be serious problems during the year. Police statistics showed that child rape tripled between 2005 and 2007. Anecdotal evidence suggested that a relative or someone who lived with the child was the most common abuser. Girl Child Network reported that girls believed to be virgins were at risk for rape due to the belief among some that having sex with a virgin would cure men of HIV and AIDS. In February UNICEF and the government launched the "Stand Up and Speak Out" child abuse awareness and prevention campaign.

The traditional practice of offering a young girl in marriage as compensatory payment in interfamily disputes continued during the year, as did arranged marriage of young girls. The legal age for a civil marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. Customary marriage, recognized under the Customary Marriages Act, does not provide for a minimum marriage age for either boys or girls; however, the criminal code prohibits sexual relations with anyone younger than 16 years of age. According to UNICEF in 2006, 29 percent of young women married when they were under 18 years of age. Child welfare NGOs reported that they occasionally saw evidence of underage marriages, particularly in isolated religious communities or among orphans with HIV/AIDS.

With 1.6 million orphans with HIV/AIDS, the country had the world's highest percentage of orphaned children at one in four, and the number increased during the year. Ninety percent of orphans were cared for by the extended family. Many grandparents were left to care for the young, and, in some cases, children or adolescents headed families and were forced to work to survive. Orphaned children were more likely to be abused, not to be enrolled in school, and to suffer discrimination. Some children were forced to turn to prostitution as a means of income.

According to the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH), persons with disabilities continued to be a forgotten and invisible group in society. For example, although an estimated 10 percent of citizens had disabilities, the sector has largely been marginalized from HIV/AIDS intervention programs. Except for a short period in the 1990s, instructions on the use of condoms have never been distributed in Braille for the visually impaired, and no efforts were made to advertise condoms in sign language for the deaf. There was no HIV/AIDS information in Braille. The organization also reported that only 33 percent of children with disabilities had access to education.

The government had a national HIV/AIDS policy that prohibited discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, and the law aims to protect against discrimination of workers in the private sector and parastatals. Despite these provisions, societal discrimination against persons affected by HIV/AIDS remained a problem. Although there was an active information campaign by international and local NGOs, the Ministry of Health, and the National AIDS Council to destigmatize HIV/AIDS, ostracism and condemnation of those affected by HIV/AIDS continued.

 

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