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Archived Comments for: Fear of Foreigners: HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence

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  1. Update on HIV-related travel restrictions

    Joseph Amon, Human Rights Watch

    18 June 2009

    As of June 2009, there continues to be no central international monitoring mechanism for HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, or residence and the number of countries with some type of restriction remain incomplete. The data presented in our article, from September 2008, that 66 of the 186 countries for which data were available placed some sort of HIV-related restriction on entry, stay, or residence, remains the most up-to-date global statistic.

    Developments on the issue continue to be mixed. Some countries have moved backward, creating or tightening HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence. As of June 1, 2009, the Czech Republic instituted a requirement that visa applicants from ten specified countries present health certificates proving they are not HIV positive. In South Korea, notwithstanding developments including a Seoul High Court ruling from November 2008 barring the deportation of an HIV-positive non-citizen on the grounds that detection and treatment rather than deportation are the most effective means of curbing the spread of HIV, the government introduced a bill allowing immigration officials to require drug and HIV testing of any foreign worker seeking a work visa under the Ministry of Justice’s E-2 visa policy.

    Progress in eliminating these restrictions has also been noted. In advance of the June 2009 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, the government of Namibia committed to urgently removing all HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence from government regulations. December 2008 modifications to Tajikistan’s law eliminated the requirement that foreigners found to be HIV-positive be deported from the country (but maintained mandatory testing for people entering the country for longer than three months). Changes to the U.S. rule on entry for persons living with HIV/AIDS following the elimination of the country’s statutory entry ban in July 2008 are under review and are expected to be posted for public comment soon.

    Competing interests