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Court Rejects HIV Claim — Should Illness Earn Asylum?

The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an HIV-positive Ugandan woman's claim to stay in the UK citing her medical condition. The woman's lawyers argued the level of medical care in Uganda would lead to her early death — in essence, cruel and degrading treatment.

The government didn't agree. They say that all National Health Service HIV drugs are available in Uganda, and if the woman was indeed sent back to Uganda, it would constitute no violation of the bar on inhuman or degrading treatment.

The woman initially entered the UK in March 1998 — seriously ill and soon admitted to a hospital. Lawyers filed an asylum application for her, claiming she had been raped by government soldiers in Uganda because of her association with the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group in the north of the country. The claim says her life would be in danger if she returned.

While rejecting her claim, the government said they had no evidence that Ugandan authorities were a threat to her and that the treatment of AIDS in Uganda was comparable to any other African country. Is comparable enough? If indeed the woman contracted AIDS through rape, should the government accept that as reason enough for asylum? Is sending her back a violation of human rights? Was the government right?

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Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
b/c she was HIV positive they didn't wanna let her stay, if they grant her asylum then more people will come their with hiv looking to stay and risk spreading it even more.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 8 years
Her lawyers spun her situation the wrong way and it's a real shame. I think her illness might be a factor (in that she's even less able to adequately defend herself if she's severely ill), but it shouldn't have been her main argument. They should've considered that the government would rather throw her to the wolves than to make a precedent like that.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I have to agree with Cine on this one. I feel horrible for her, but come on, if you make an exception for one person, that is just opening the door for more people who will claim that their illness is grounds for asylum, so that they can get free medical care.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I agree Cine. I'm sorry she's ill, but her life is in jeopardy because of her illness, and not because someone else is trying to kill her. If her life truly is in danger because of her relationship with Lord's Resistance Army, then that should've been their only argument. (And that would be a different case.)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I agree Cine. I'm sorry she's ill, but her life is in jeopardy because of her illness, and not because someone else is trying to kill her. If her life truly is in danger because of her relationship with <i>Lord's Resistance Army</i>, then that should've been their only argument. (And that would be a different case.)
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
If they allow her to come in an use the health care, then they are opening up for a potential of influx of people who are ill, who can then claim asylum. I think it is tragic, but I also understand where the government is coming from. It is expensive enough in England, and they already are having issues with not enough doctors. The English governments first responsibility is to their citizens, and I think that is what they are doing.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 8 years
Lawyers filed an asylum application for her, claiming she had been raped by government soldiers in Uganda because of her association with the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group in the north of the country. The claim says her life would be in danger if she returned. I think that's a good enough reason for me. On the one hand, the international attention might prompt Uganda to go out of their way to make sure she is treated well. However, that doesn't necessarily guarantee her protection from harm. I think given her past experiences, the attention might also increase exponentially the chances of her life being in danger upon her return. I think (and forgive me for putting it as callously like this) of her illness is just icing on the cake.
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
...The cure may be in Uganda, however, how is she paying for it? Her lack of knowledge and irresponsibility is NOT the reason she has HIV. If she is in a country that has a universal health care system (don't quote me on this, but I think they do), they shouldn't be complaining about helping her. After all, whats another 50 cents a year extra in taxes to help her out?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"If indeed the woman contracted AIDS through rape, should the government accept that as reason enough for asylum?"Does a country exist in the world where people don't contract HIV through rape? I realize it's ridiculously more prevalent in Africa but if that's the sole reason for asylum there's really nowhere you can go to be totally safe from that.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"If indeed the woman contracted AIDS through rape, should the government accept that as reason enough for asylum?" Does a country exist in the world where people don't contract HIV through rape? I realize it's ridiculously more prevalent in Africa but if that's the sole reason for asylum there's really nowhere you can go to be totally safe from that.
stephley stephley 8 years
It never ceases to amaze me how casually we treat other peoples' lives.
raciccarone raciccarone 8 years
Nations should be responsible for taking care of the ill if they can. It's simply not humane to let people die because they can't afford medicine.
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