Uganda Drafts Bill to Execute HIV Infectors
Posted by pozlife on September 24, 2006
The incidence of HIV-positive adults sexually abusing Ugandan children is rising, prompting lawmakers to draft a bill calling for offenders who knowingly infect minors with HIV to be executed.
The bill is one of many under discussion by parliament in a bid to curb the country’s widening AIDS epidemic. Already one in 10 Ugandans has HIV disease. While previous bills have been drafted and then shelved, Elioda Tumwesigye, who chairs the parliamentary committee on HIV, expressed confidence the new measure would pass.
“There is a big concern about people who infect others with HIV,” said Joseph Kakooza, chairman of the Uganda Law Reform Commission, during an August presentation of a brief on the draft bill. “In some countries if an HIV-positive person knowingly infects another, he or she is charged. In some countries such people are referred to as murderers.”
The draft bill specifically targets those who infect children through sexual abuse. If passed, any HIV-infected person who performs a sexual act with a person under age 18, with or without consent, would be charged with “aggravated defilement.” If convicted of the felony by the high court, the offender could face death.
Human rights groups call the bill off-target and say more efforts should go toward AIDS awareness campaigns. They also worry the bill could drive sex offenders underground, since an African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect report found 90% of alleged perpetrators were close relatives. Many parents could choose to keep abuse cases out of the courts for fear of subjecting relatives to death, they argue.
[This summary provided by the CDC National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention | Inter Press Service | September 13, 2006 | Evelyn Kiapi Matsamura]