Monday, Nov 24, 2008
Some carriers of HIV would be implanted with microchips under a bill backed by legislators in the Indonesian province of Papua.
John Manangsang, a Papua MP, said that by implanting computer chips beneath the skin of “sexually aggressive” patients authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and punish anyone who deliberately infected others. Those convicted could face up to six months in jail or a £3,340 fine.
The proposed legislation has received backing from the provincial parliament and a majority vote is expected. If approved it would be enacted next month, Manangsang said.
Under the bill, a committee would decide who should be fitted with chips and monitor patients’ behaviour, but it is unclear who would be on the committtee and how it would carry out its work.
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Health workers and rights activists today criticised the plan. Nancy Fee, the UNAids country coordinator for Indonesia, said she was not aware of any laws or initiatives elsewhere involving HIV/Aids patients and microchips, and expressed “grave concerns” about the effect it would have.
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“No one should be subject to unlawful or unnecessary interference of privacy,” Fee said. She warned that oppressive policies on HIV/Aids didn’t work and pushed the problem further underground.