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Pozitif-iz Association Launches The 2020 Report on Human Rights Violations!

Güncelleme tarihi: 6 Eki 2021

People living with HIV (PLHIV) were discriminated against and marginalized by a wide range of people, ranging from civilians to bureaucrats.

“Violation of the Right to Health” once again ranks first in the rights violations list. The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased the discrimination rate.

Unlike the reports launched previously, “The 2020 Report on Human Rights Violations” experienced by people living with HIV in Turkey additionally includes the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights violations.

Once Again Our “Health” Was Violated the Most

This report has been prepared with the support of the European Union’s Etkiniz EU Programme, and comprises the rights violations experienced by Pozitif-iz Association’s counselees in 2020. The rights violations reported by our counselees have been anonymized, and evaluated in line with the international conventions to which Turkey is a party and also national legislation.

In 2020, 42 cases of human rights violations were reported to Pozitif-iz Association by our counselees.

These violations have been classified into the following categories: - Violations Based on Access to Healthcare Services - Violations of Right Based on Legislation on Work Life - Rights Violations Based on Legislation on Military Service - Rights Violations Based on Legislation on Criminal Law - Rights Violations Based on Legislation on Family Law

22 out of these 42 violation cases (52%) were related to the Right to Health, 13 (31%) were related to the Right to Work, 2 (5%) were related to the Family Law, 4 (10%) were related to the Military Legislation, and 1 (2%) was related to the Criminal Law. However, most of these reported cases contained violation of various human rights.

“People Living With HIV Should Be Able to Exercise Their Rights!”

Çiğdem Şimşek, Founding Member of Pozitif-iz Association, stated the following about HIV and human rights violations: “If we want to stop the spread of HIV, we must prevent the prejudices, stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV! Despite the opinions and calls which all scientific authorities agree upon to end the violation of rights, unfortunately, Turkey still does not have laws that would both protect the rights of people living with HIV and public health. In fact, some of our influential bureaucrats feed the prejudices against people living with HIV with their rhetoric, and label them as ‘dangerous’ and ‘marginal.’

ANYONE can get infected with HIV regardless of their age, race, sexual orientation and gender. Today’s medications successfully suppress HIV, preventing transmission and allowing PLHIV to lead healthy lives. However, medications are not enough to fight against HIV, we must empathize and understand one another, and break down the prejudices in society.

I do not know what kind of a person you think of when you hear “people living with HIV” but you may have an HIV positive doctor, grocer, cook, or even a family member with whom you share your home. Our HIV-positive counselees are from all walks of society, ranging from a 7-year old child to a university student and our elderly.

We are a group of human rights defenders, who fight for the rights of people living with HIV, by placing PLHIV and their rights at the centre. We are aware that PLHIV people are not treated the same as the people who do not live with HIV, and we will not stop demanding equality.”

“Comprehensive Policies Are the Key to Solve the Current Problems”

“As we have emphasized throughout the whole report, the only difference between the violations found in the ‘Pozitif-iz Association / The 2018-2019 Report on Human Rights Violations and Legal Advice’ report published last year, and the violations reported to the association in 2020 is the addition of Covid-19 pandemic to the reasons of these rights violations” say the Association’s volunteer lawyers Hatice Demir and Enes Salar, who prepared the report, and continue:

Since it can already be foreseen that Covid-19 pandemic and its effects will last for some more time all around the world and Turkey and the humanity is continuously creating new crises, this type of situations must be ended immediately using preventive measures as they pose an obstacle for the disadvantageous groups including people living with HIV against access to healthcare.

Therefore, it is essential for the relevant units of government including mainly the Ministry of Health to make comprehensive policies for the solution of problems, and include people living with HIV to these policy-making processes.”

We concluded the report by explaining the following:

- Why HIV-related rights violations become a daily occurrence although Turkey’s legislation on patient rights covers PLHIV

- What type of obstacles PLHIV face when claiming their rights

- Why it is hard for PLHIV to fight against rights violations.

We also provided findings and recommendations about what non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies can do about the subject.

To access the full report:

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