International Human Rights Day: Stakeholders call for implementation of HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination act

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By Sunny A. David, Awka
Human rights are the basic rights or freedom which an individual or group enjoys without negotiation.
They include right to life, right to health, freedom of speech and thoughts, and freedom of association, among others.
But is this actually the case with some group of people who are often stigmatized because of their health conditions.
As the world celebrates the International Human Rights Day citizens are calling for the implementation of the HIV and AIDS anti discrimination Act 2014.
The HIV and AIDS anti discrimination Act 2014, makes provision for prevention of HIV and AIDS by discouraging discrimination and protecting the fundamental human right and dignity of people living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
Though this Act had been signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan on sixteenth February, 2015, its implementation has become a source of worry to many citizens.
Dr Adam Anieme of the Anambra State Ministry of Health said non implementation of the Act has led to increase of the virus since many out of fear of stigmatization hide their status.
He said enforcement of the law, easier access to vaccines and employment of more health workers will go a long way in decreasing its prevalence.
A legal practitioner, Sylvester Okenwa, said Section Forty Two of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees every citizen of Nigeria the right to freedom from discrimination and as such any violation of the law is punishable under the law
He however regretted that ignorance of one’s right had been a major challenge to the implementation of the law.
He advised all those who feel their rights had been infringed upon to seek redress in the court of law.
On her part, a medical practitioner, Dr. Mrs. Nneka Ibeh described stigmatization as the fastest killer, noting that though the virus itself can be managed the emotional trauma often times defies management.
This may be the reason the United Nations General Assembly introduced the Human Rights Day observed annually on ten December to form a basis for human rights all over the world so as to encourage people to know and push for their rights no matter where they are in the world.

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