January 25, 2012 - On February 8, 2012, the Supreme Court
of Canada will hear two landmark cases on the issue of criminalization of HIV
non-disclosure in R v. Mabior and R v. DC. The Court's decisions in these
two appeal cases will have profound implications not only for people
living with HIV, but also for Canadian public health, police
practice and the criminal justice system.
We invite Canadian and international organizations and professionals working on
issues related to HIV/AIDS and in the fields of public health and law to
endorse the following statement establishing that people living with
HIV are not criminals in cases where the
threshold of significant risk is not met, and calling
for the criminal law to be based on the best
available scientific evidence, not on assumptions,
prejudice or fear. Please send your
signature as you would like it to appear - including
your name, organization, title and geographic location - on
the signatory list by Wednesday, Feb 1 st at 5:00 p.m. EST to email@example.com . If your organization will sign on in full, please indicate that as well and include the French translation of your organization's name if available.
If you are an individual without an organizational affiliation
or professional designation and you would like to also endorse this statement
please do so to the email address above.
There has been a marked increase in the frequency and severity of criminal charges for HIV non-disclosure
throughout the world. In Canada alone, more than 130 people living with HIV have been charged in less
than 15 years. This includes numerous cases in which their activity posed no significant risk of
HIV transmission. Simply put, this is a miscarriage of justice.
For more information on criminalization of HIV non-disclosure,
please visit http://www.aidslaw.ca/stopcriminalization .
IN ADVANCE OF LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASE, SUPPORTERS WORLDWIDE CALL ON CANADA TO STOP CRIMINALIZING PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV
Monday, February 6, 2012 - Canadian criminal law requires people living with HIV
to disclose their status before engaging in behaviour that involves a "significant risk" of transmitting
the virus. Yet people have been charged, and convicted for not disclosing their status, even though their
activity did not pose a significant risk of HIV transmission. This is a miscarriage of justice. Further,
it has contributed to a climate marked by anxiety, fear, stigma and misinformation that undermines
HIV counselling, education and prevention efforts. This puts all Canadians at greater risk.
On February 8, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear two landmark cases on this important
issue. We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that the Court use this opportunity to explicitly
reconfirm that people living with HIV are not criminals in cases where the threshold of significant
risk is not met - including cases where condoms are used or the HIV positive person was being
successfully treated with antiretroviral drugs. We ask that the Court instruct lower courts
that significant risk must be determined on the basis of the best available scientific
evidence, not on assumptions, prejudice or fear.
Finally, we call on the provincial and territorial Attorneys General to follow suit and adopt
guidelines to limit prosecutions in cases of HIV non-disclosure. These prosecutions are not helpful in
putting an end to this epidemic, and the radical over-extension of the criminal law is counter-productive and damaging.
Reproduced with permission - "Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network"
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network