22 August 2014
Botswana has been ordered to provide ARV’s to foreign inmates. This was the judgment of the Botswana High Court. Two HIV-positive foreign nationals took the government to court for refusing to provide ARV’s to the patients. It was a landmark ruling, the High Court has ruled in favour of the two inmates.
Bonela spokesperson, Cindy Kelemi, says it is a victory for human rights and this is something that they have been fighting for a very long time. “You heard from the judgement it started in 2007, but then we formally put it before the court formally in 2013 and the court has ruled in our favour that foreign prisoners have a constitutional right to access treatment in Botswana prisons,” contends Kelemi.
Judge Bengbame Sechele says government’s refusal was unconstitutional and a breach of human rights. Botswana Chief State Attorney, David Moloisi maintains the judgement spoke for itself because as government they will see and calculate its practicality in terms of them being government and whether it is an attainable thing.
“But of course we cannot rule out that we have to comply with the judgement and not forgetting that as government we should be seen as caring for its people both foreign and national.”
Botswana is one of the country’s worst hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It’s estimated about 2000 foreign prisoners are HIV positive in Botswana prisons.