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Hilary Homans Citizenship, rights and duties: Communalism, collusion and coercion in HIV testing 29 th June 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Hilary Homans Citizenship, rights and duties: Communalism, collusion and coercion in HIV testing 29 th June 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hilary Homans Citizenship, rights and duties: Communalism, collusion and coercion in HIV testing 29 th June 2011

2 Overview 1.Limitation of classical liberal theory that accords priority to the individual as ultimate bearer of rights irrespective of their status in society 2.Social, economic and cultural rights of poor and marginalised are not universally respected 3.Relationship between rights and duties

3 Human rights based approach WHO and the United Nations Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) issued a statement in 2004 that HIV testing should always occur under conditions of informed consent, confidentiality and counselling.

4 Individualism vs. communalism Individual as paramount and as the ultimate bearer of rights, regardless of their status in society, informed the early international approach to HIV testing Criticised within the literature of colonialism e.g.Ngugi wa Thiongo and Rodney Importance of communalism in Sub Saharan Africa

5 Ubuntu Humanness Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. (Desmond Tutu, 2008)

6 Individualism vs. communalism Gender consequences of individual approach to HIV testing Move from individual to couple HIV testing and counselling

7 Independent & indivisible Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Born free and equal in dignity and rights – Entitlement to rights and freedoms...without distinction Thomas Pogge Human rights would be fully realised, if all human beings had secure access to the objects of these rights.

8 Some individuals (and groups) more equal than others better placed to exercise their rights than others

9 Infringements of human rights Occur based on: behaviours that are deemed undesirable (selling sex, have same sex relationships, injecting drugs) being in State care (e.g. in prisons, army or childrens homes) being under the age of majority migration and displacement – individual may be inadequately protected through being stateless, or not being a citizen of the country where they temporarily reside.

10 Rights vs. duties Duty bearers responsibility to protect others. Under international human rights law, – States may impose restrictions on some rights, in narrowly defined circumstances, if such restrictions are necessary to achieve overriding goals, such as public health, the rights of others, morality, public order, the general welfare in a democratic society and national security.

11 HIV testing – public health Testing for HIV without informed consent is unethical and violates human rights. UNHCR, WHO and UNAIDS do not support compulsory or mandatory HIV testing of individuals on public health grounds or for any other purpose. Exception: Mandatory testing of blood and blood products or organs for transplants is ethical and necessary.

12 Mandatory testing Premarital Pregnancy (opt out) Peacekeepers 2011/ _OnTheFrontLine.pdf 2011/ _OnTheFrontLine.pdf Prisoners Visitors/economic migrants Refugees, displaced persons, asylum seekers

13 Conclusion Problem with citizenship as an inclusive entity: – different ways that the rights of individuals are promoted or denied depending on their age, gender, civil status and where they happen to be, geographically and temporally.

14 Duties often take precedence over rights State, church, health services, army, employers often assume role of protector often infringing human rights... and those who are displaced or matter out of place are often the most vulnerable.

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