Uganda Human Rights Commission has faulted the HIV /AIDS bill 2010 on the criminalization of victims saying it encroaches on their fundamental human freedoms.
Meddie Kagwa, the commission chairman says the provisions of the bill that includes mandatory testing, disclosure of results without consent, criminalization of attempted and intentional transmission are key issues that rotate on the rights of an individual.
He says the commission is also concerned over the lack of specific protection of vulnerable groups like the children, prisoners, women and persons with disability in the bill.
Kagwa states that the commission has the mandate to analyze and review bills to make sure that they comply with the constitution and other various international standards such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of human rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
He says notes that it is such standards that should provide the basis and guidance on what to include in the proposed HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill 2010.
Roselyn Karugonjo, the commission director in charge of monitoring and inspection points out section 39, which says a person who attempts to transmit HIV to another person commits a felony and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of between 280,000 to 400,000 shillings or imprisonment of not more than five years.
Karugonjo also cites section 41 of the bill which says that a person who willfully and intentionally transits HIV to another person commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a fine of between 400,000 to 800,000 shillings or to imprisonment for a term not more than ten years or both.
Karugonjo says such articles need to be deleted from the bill before it is passed into law.
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Jeremiah Twa-Twa Mutwalante, vice chairperson HIV/AIDS parliamentary committee says the bill shall be subjected to fresh discussions to consider UHRC concerns.
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The HIV/AIDS 2010 bill was drafted in the 8th parliament to provide a legal framework that is geared towards prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, reduce on the rate of transmission and protect persons with HIV/AIDS. It also aims at bridging gaps existing in legislation pertaining to HIV/AIDS in the country.