United Nations blasts HIV tests on asylum-seekers
Natasha Bita; 29/1/10
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has attacked as “discriminatory” Australia’s policy of screening asylum-seekers for HIV. The regional office of the UN agency wants Australia to scrap its health requirement for refugees. “The present operation of the health requirement is discriminatory in effect and endangers a number of human rights norms,” it says in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s treatment of disabled migrants. “To that extent, Australia presently falls short of its international obligations.” The UNHCR says Australia’s health rules effectively bar any refugee found to have HIV or AIDS, unless the Immigration Minister grants a waiver. “Although the waiver is theoretically available, UNHCR’s experience in practice suggests that it is very rarely granted,” it says.