Health, fitness and Food

Proposed amendment to Immigration Bill would ban immigrants with HIV or Hepatitis B

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HIV and AIDs campaigners have called the amendment “draconian”

Backbench Conservative MPs have been criticised for supporting a proposed ban on HIV positive immigrants entering Britain.

The NC21 amendment to the Immigration Bill, which would also affect people with Hepatitis B, was tabled by Bracknell MP Dr Phillip, and supported by 17 other Tories, including: Stephen Barclay, Tracey Crouch and Dr Sarah Wollaston.

The news comes as MPs voted on Thursday against an amendment led by rebel Tory MPs to stop foreign criminals using European human rights law to avoid deportation.

Daisy Ellis, Head of Parliamentary & Public Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s outrageous that a group of MPs are even proposing such an un-evidenced amendment. If implemented, it would represent the most draconian policy enforced on people with HIV by this country to date. It is to the UK’s credit that its Government, whatever its political stamp, has consistently refused throughout the past 30 years to put in place HIV-related border controls. Such a poorly thought through about-face would take UK HIV policy into a new Dark Age.”

The proposal has also been backed by Dominic Raab, who himself put forward an amendment to the Bill giving ministers the final say on deportation, rather than judges.

Although time restrictions make it unlikely that the amendment will be debated or passed, AIDs campaigners have expressed their concern the the Bill has received support.

If imposed, the law would go against advise given by the United Nations led UNAIDS, stating that “HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence do not protect the public health”. It also warns restrictions “violate other human rights” and “can impede effective responses to HIV”.

The proposal comes after the US ended a ban on HIV-positive travellers and immigrants from entering the country in 2010.

Daisy Ellis, Head of Parliamentary and public affairs at the HIV and AIDs charity the Terence Higgins Trust, told the Huffington Post that “if implemented, [the amendment] would represent the most draconian policy enforced on people with HIV by this country to date.”

She added: “[it is] outrageous that a group of MPs are even proposing such an un-evidenced amendment.”

“It is to the UK’s credit that its Government, whatever its political stamp, has consistently refused throughout the past 30 years to put in place HIV-related border controls. Such a poorly thought through about-face would take UK HIV policy into a new Dark Age.”

According to the UN, around 60 countries, areas and territories in the world deny the entry, stay or residence of HIV-positive people. These include: the Russia, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Singapore, the Bahamas, and Yemen.

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