Media Advisory: Blantyre High Court to Hear Case on Mandatory HIV Testing

Salc : Staff Writer

Lilongwe – On Tuesday 25th February, the High Court in Blantyre, Malawi will hear arguments on whether the police and medical personnel violated the rights of eleven women by subjecting them to mandatory HIV testing.

“This case is about a group of women who were randomly arrested during sweeping exercises by the police and the tested for HIV without their consent,” said Anneke Meerkotter from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), who is supporting the case. “The police and health workers showed complete disregard for the women’s rights. The High Court must stop this from ever happening again.”

According to Gift Trapence, Director of the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which is also providing support to the case, “the rights violations in this case highlight the necessity of having legislation which protects everyone from mandatory HIV testing”.

What: Blantyre High Court will hear arguments in case challenging mandatory HIV testing

Where: High Court, Blantyre, Malawi

When: 25 February 2014

On 10 March 2011, eleven women from Mwanza, Malawi, filed an application in the Blantyre High Court arguing that they were subjected to mandatory HIV tests and their HIV status was publicly disclosed in open court. The women argue that these actions by government officials violated their constitutional rights to dignity; privacy; liberty; non-discrimination; and freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The applicants’ legal representative in this matter is Chrispine Sibande.

For more information contact:

Gift Trapence, CEDEP: Tel: +265 (0)99 157 3514; E-mail: gtrapence@yahoo.co.uk

Anneke Meerkotter, SALC LGBT/Sex Work Project Lawyer: Tel: + 27 (0)83 784 8496; E-mail: annekem@salc.org.za

Priti Patel, SALC Deputy Director: Tel: + 27 (0)76 808 0505; E-mail: pritip@salc.org.za

For updates follow SALC on twitter: @follow_salc

A summary of the case is available here.