HRW calls on gov’t to protect people with HIV/AIDS vs workplace discrimination

By , on February 9, 2018

The Philippine government has been manifesting a poor implementation of its laws against the discrimination of employees in the workplace with human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

“The Philippines has strong laws on the books, notably the HIV/AIDS law, which criminalizes workplace discrimination against people living with HIV. But there is little evidence that the government is adequately enforcing the laws to prevent and punish workplace discrimination,” HRW said.

According to the international human rights watchdog, because of the government’s inadequate enforcement of the law on discrimination against people with HIV, those who have experienced discrimination in the workplace kept silent as they fear that the situation might worsen.

“In most of the discrimination cases that Human Rights Watch documented, employees with HIV did not file formal complaints, most frequently due to fear of being further exposed as HIV positive, which could prevent future employment,” the HRW said.

Carlos Conde, HRW’s researcher in the Philippines said that this scenario makes the country face a “double whammy” of “increasing HIV infection” and “increasing fears of workers with HIV that they can’t seek justice if they are discriminated against on the job.”

To eliminate this stigma, Conde said: “The government needs to ensure that people living with HIV get better protection in their jobs and that the public gets more and better information on HIV.”