HIV-positive Kenyans Need Tribunal to Address Rights Violations.

It is something human rights organizations in the country are looking to change by calling for the implementation of the AIDS tribunal which was gazetted in December 2009. It is expected to seek legal redress for past injustices against people living with HIV.

The 2010 Human Rights Count report released in May 2010, which is the first of its kind in Kenya, revealed that 82.7 percent of people living with HIV face abuses ranging from loss of life, denial of social security as well as health care, among others.

Despite the constitution of Kenya guaranteeing the right to life and protection from inhuman treatment and any form of discrimination, it does not directly address the rights of people living with HIV, according to Jacinta Nyachae, the executive director of the AIDS Law Project.

According to Nyachae, this could explain why most HIV-positive people who experience human rights violations fail to report them. She also links the low reporting rate to lack of awareness on where they may report as well as the process of seeking redress.

“This is why we are lobbying for a vigorous AIDS tribunal so that people living with HIV will be able to seek justice for past as well as future injustices,” says Nyachae.

The tribunal is meant to pursue redress for past injustices against people living with HIV. And though the list of injustices submitted to the tribunal’s chairman, Ambrose Rachier, is long, he says it is not meant to punish offenders who transgressed the rights of people living with HIV.

Case study,
NAIROBI, Aug 3, 2010 (IPS) – Nancy Njeri’s life changed when she contracted HIV through a gang rape. Not only did the infection traumatize her, she was ostracized by close friends and neighbors whom she had known for almost a decade. She was fired from her job and when she attempted to sell vegetables, people boycotted her stand because of her status.

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