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Thursday 27 June 2019
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UWI Dean: Migrants being refused HIV care

There must be a commitment to human rights framework and that commitment must transcend borders says Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Dean of Law, University of the West Indies.

Antoine, while speaking at the regional forum on Migrants and Mobile Populations Rights and Health held yesterday at the Parliament building in Port of Spain, said all people must be able to access a minimum amount of health care.

She said migrants must be able to access HIV treatment without having to face discrimination. Antoine said harsh immigration practices caused people with HIV to run underground, adding that harsh treatment of migrants had increased three-fold.

Antoine said many migrants were denied access to attorneys while police would confiscate certificates of asylum from some of those they arrested. She said all people were entitled to all human rights wherever they were located.

“All people should be able to access a minimum standard for HIV which is an economic and social right and a right to life.

“While we appreciate states have a margin of appreciation or leeway in determining how to translate that into dollars and cents, the state must do all in its power to ensure the health of those people within its jurisdiction.

“The right to life and the protection of his or her life must be recognised under the international human rights law.”

She said this pragmatic approach to the right to health was a non-discriminatory strategy so public health benefited the entire population.

Antoine said because of stigma and discrimination there was a medical refugee system where people were leaving their own countries and going to neighbouring countries. She said that was why it was imperative to fight discrimination.

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