The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently demonstrated its continued support of “MR”, a SECTION27 client who has faced severe discrimination by the State of Qatar (“Qatar”) and Al Jazeera English Online (“Al Jazeera”) on the basis of his HIV status. MR was dismissed from his position as a senior editor at Al Jazeera and detained by and deported from Qatar solely because he is living with HIV. The ITUC recently wrote a letter to Al Jazeera calling for the company to reinstate MR and “play a leading role in working with the Qatari government to eliminate the discriminatory laws that undermine universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and deepen the stigma attaching to HIV status”.
The letter and a press statement from the ITUC are available below. SECTION27 wholly supports these calls and believes that Al Jazeera must use its influence to fight discrimination rather than perpetrate it.
Previously, the ITUC addressed an open letter to the Emir of Qatar calling on Qatar to change its discriminatory laws. SECTION27 has also written to Qatar and Al Jazeera calling on them to stop discriminating against people living with HIV and to re-employ MR in the position of managing editor, to which he would have been promoted had he not been dismissed. In addition, SECTION27 has lodged a request with the South African delegation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to file a complaint against Qatar on the basis of non-compliance with its international law obligations.
SECTION27 also held a picket outside Al Jazeera’s offices in Johannesburg on 14 February 2012 at which an Al Jazeera representative received a “Memorandum Concerning Human Rights Violations by Al Jazeera English and the State of Qatar”. The Memorandum, available below, also called for the re-employment of MR and a formal recognition of the violations of his rights.
SECTION27 and the ITUC will continue to denounce Qatar and Al Jazeera and support MR until our calls are met and MR receives relief. SECTION27 and the ITUC stand with people living with HIV and will stand against anyone who discriminates against them.