R2K raises concern over SSA 'vetting' Aids conference delegates

2016-07-14 22:37

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Johannesburg – Reports that the State Security Agency will vet delegates attending the International Aids Conference in Durban are appalling, the Right2Know campaign said on Thursday.

“The involvement of state security in 'mega' events such as this is an increasingly troubling practice, with a history of leading to clamp downs on activists' right to protest and organise,” the R2K said in a statement.

“This was the case at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”

The conference would be held from next Monday to July 22 and was expected to attract 18 000 delegates.

The organisation questioned how the delegates could pose a threat to national security and wanted to know on what grounds they would be denied entrance.

“What is the SSA intending to use this information for, and with whom will the information be shared with?”

Ministry spokesperson Brian Dube declined to comment and said they would issue a statement on Friday.

In a society where surveillance of activists and civil society was increasing, the R2K questioned why the SSA should have access to delegates’ information beyond what they provided during registration.

HIV/Aids was still stigmatised and the SSA’s actions could perpetuate the fear and stigma around the disease.

Delegates had a right to privacy and should not be subject to vetting that may further compromise their safety and security. There was no guarantee that their information would not be shared with other government agencies across the world.




Read more on:    r2k  |  aids2016  |  durban  |  hiv/aids

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