Malawi sex workers sue government

2011-11-13 21:48
Blantyre - About 14 Malawians sex workers arrested by police and forced to undergo HIV tests two years ago have sued the government for "unfair action and violating their privacy", a high court official told AFP on Sunday.

The prostitutes, who all tested positive, filed for a judicial review of their case in 2009, but the court only gave consent to the sex workers to proceed with their action this year, the official from the administrative capital Lilongwe said.

The sex workers were charged for trading in sex while having a sexually transmitted disease. They were fined $7 and set free.

In the affivadits, the women say they have sued the government because after their arrest for prostitution, a police officer in charge and a district health officer for Mwanza in southern Malawi, "subjected us to a forced HIV test without our informed consent ... this decision was illegal".

They said they wanted the decision to be "declared unlawful on the ground that the said decision is unreasonable and arbitrary and thus constitutes unfair administrative action".

"This was [a] violation of our constitutional rights to privacy and liberty, non-discrimination, to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and to dignity of the person," they added.

The sex workers said a magistrate court in Mwanza "publicly disclosed in a court room the results of our mandatory HIV tests, thereby violating our right to privacy and dignity".

Police said in court it was part of their investigation to have the women tested.

HIV infection rates

The case will come to a preliminary hearing on December 14 before the high court can fix a date for the main case to begin.

The women are reportedly being helped in the litigation by local and international non-governmental organisations.

Health officials say HIV infection rates among prostitutes in Malawi range between 70 to 80%.

Aids-ravaged Malawi has 383 000 people on free anti-retrovirals (ARVs), up from 5 000 when the programme started seven years ago, health authorities say.

About 14% of the country's 13 million citizens are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids, according to official figures.

Malawi launched the free anti-Aids drugs scheme in 2004 with 5 000 initial beneficiaries.

The poor southern African nation has 90 000 new annual infections, largely among young people and women, according to Unaids.

The World Bank gave Malawi a $30m grant two years ago to prevent HIV infections and speed up the roll-out of free drugs.

Read more on:    malawi  |  southern africa  |  hiv aids
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

New Business Corporate Sales Consultant

Western Cape
AGA Recruitment Specialists
R17 000 - R20 000 Per Month

Production Pharmacist

Western Cape
Dante Personnel Recruitment
R40 000 - R45 000 Per Month

MDWA016 COSTING CLERK (9 MONTH CONTRACT ONLY)

Western Cape
Anchor Executive Recruitment (Pty) Ltd
R10 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are on form and you may like an audience to share your ideas and concepts with. Drama and creativity flavour your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.