Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

16 March 2012

Tanzania must end HIV ‘red ribbon’ stigma in schools

Tanzania must end HIV ‘red ribbon’ stigma in schools
The decision to force HIV-positive children to wear red ribbons in class has sparked outrage.

The decision to force HIV-positive children to wear red ribbons in class has sparked outrage.

© China Photos/Getty Images


This move is likely to result in further discrimination and mean that people will decide to not get tested for HIV.
Source: 
Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Legal and Policy Director

The reported decision by several Tanzanian schools to force HIV-positive pupils to wear red ribbons to class has prompted Amnesty International to caution against stigmatization of those suffering from the disease.

The headmaster at one of the schools in the Kibaha district says it was done at the parents’ request to excuse sick children from strenuous activities.

“The suggestion that forcing HIV-positive children to wear red ribbons will protect them is ludicrous,” said Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Legal and Policy Director.

“HIV status is an entirely private matter until a person decides to share it with others. Children who are HIV-positive can live healthy and active lives if they are given the right care – stigmatizing them in this manner and leaving them open to abuse is deeply misguided.

“It’s likely to result in further discrimination and mean that people will decide to not get tested for HIV. Overall, it could lead to reduced access to the health services people need.

“The Tanzanian authorities must launch an investigation into why this was allowed to happen and bring in fresh initiatives to educate people about stigmatizing those with HIV.”

According to UNAids, some 1.4m people - about 5% of the population - in Tanzania are living with HIV. Around 160,000 children under the age of 14 are HIV positive.

Issue

Discrimination 

Country

Tanzania 

Region

Africa 

Campaigns

Demand Dignity 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

11 July 2014

Refugees in Nairobi are appealing against a controversial ruling that would force thousands of Somalis from their homes to live in squalid overcrowded camps in north Kenya.

Read more »
19 June 2014

Chile’s commitment to decriminalize abortion in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape, the woman’s life is in danger and when the foetus is not viable is a positive... Read more »

10 July 2014

The sentencing of five media workers in Myanmar each to 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for “disclosing state secrets” makes today a dark day for freedom of expression... Read more »

11 July 2014

Amnesty International has gathered graphic and compelling evidence of savage beatings and other torture meted out against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern... Read more »

11 July 2014

Amnesty International is calling for a UN-mandated international investigation into violations committed on all sides amidst ongoing Israeli air strikes across the... Read more »