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August 7, 2007

Saudis Consider HIV Bill of Rights

The National Human Rights Society in Saudi Arabia is proposing a bill of rights for people living with HIV in the kingdom in order to address job discrimination and assure privacy for patients undergoing treatment—with violations punishable by steep fines or jail time.

The recommendations came after the NHRS received numerous complaints about people losing their jobs after disclosing their HIV status. Even if being positive poses a health risk to coworkers, says the proposal, an individual may not be terminated. Instead, they must either be moved to another position or be laid off with a severance of two-thirds of their annual salary.

A final draft of the list will be submitted to the Saudi Ministry of Health after NHRS members submit feedback on their website. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 10,000 Saudis are living with HIV as of 2006, including close to 600 children.

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