The ITUC, together with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and a renowned South African human rights organization SECTION 27 is urging the authorities of Qatar to end discrimination on grounds of HIV status.
Qatar is one of the countries where there is no prohibition on discrimination against or the dismissal of employees arising from their HIV status.
ITUC joined the campaign in South Africa concerning the case of a South African employee of Al Jazeera English Online, being recently subjected to unconsented HIV testing, and then detainded, deported and dismissed on grounds of his HIV status.
ITUC is of the opinion that legally sanctioned dismissal and deportation of migrant workers in the event that they test HIV positive not only constitutes a cruel and degrading treatment and violation of human rights, it also places a major burden on their home countries in dealing with loss of income, increased unemployment and increased demands on their domestic health systems, especially in case HIV has been acquired during the presence in the receiving country.
ITUC addressed the letter to the Emir of the State of Qatar and to the Minister of Labour or Qatar and it also brought it to attention of the Qatar Ambassadors in Brussels and Geneva. It urged the government of Qatar to ensure that MR is reemployed and that the Government of Qatar introduces policies necessary to extend protection to workers on the grounds of real or perceived HIV status.
News of the journalist’s expulsion came just a few days after Qatar marked World Aids Day by announcing a new – and apparently more enlightened – strategy for fighting HIV (http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=473505&version=1&template_id=57&parent_id=56).
SECTION 27, with the support of COSATU and FEDUSA will hold a picket at the Al Jazeera offices in Johannesburg from 1-2pm on Tuesday 14 February 2012.
More information is available on the SECTION 27 website: http://www.section27.org.za/