Commission On Human Rights
Fifty-fifth Session
Agenda Item 12
April, 1999

Dear Ms Chairwoman:

The International Educational Development (IED) as joined forces with the following organizations: International Forum for Accessible Science (IFAS), International Long Term Survivors Network of people living with a positive HIV test result, Continuum, HEAL United, Action Positive Switzerland (ApS) and African Community 2000, to alert the international community of the grave violations of the human rights of women because of inadequate or biased scientific information. As the Coordinator of the International Long Term Survivors Network of people living with a positive Hiv test result, I bring these concerns to your attention.

For example, international policies, national and state regulations promote voluntary hiv testing in the hopes of reducing transmission of "HIV" from mother to child. In the United States, under the Ryan White Care Act, the States have to show either fifty percent reduction in new borns testing Hiv positive or prove that ninety five percent of pregnant women have been tested. If a State fails to meet this goal by the year 2000, its agencies will then be required to test on a mandatory basis infants born to mothers whose "HIV" status is unknown or to test all pregnant women. One U.S. State has already implemented laws for mandatory testing.

This has some frightening implications. For example, the Child Protection Services of Eugene, Oregon in the United States placed the newborn son of a couple in protective custody unless the parents agreed to administer AZT, a well documented highly toxic pharmaceutical drug claimed to prevent the transmission of "HIV" from mother to child. The mother was also ordered not to breastfeed. If they do not comply, the child will be taken away from them. This violates the right of any woman to make decisions regarding her own and her newbornís health. It violates family rights as set out in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To tear a family apart in the way described furthermore violates Article 5 prohibiting torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

The motherís decision not to expose her baby to AZT was based on her informed knowledge of the severe toxicity of this cell-killing drug. AZT destroys DNA, which is essential for life. Furthermore, she was well aware of the importance of breastfeeding. It is a well established fact and reported on several occasions by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and national organizations that breastfeeding is in the interest of the childís healthy development and mother and child bonding.

This scientific information, and the fact that pregnancy itself (along with over sixty other conditions) can make a woman test positive on a so-called "HIV" antibody test is in the case of "HIV" and AIDS generally not disclosed to women.

This is in direct violation of several paragraphs on access to information regarding "HIV" and AIDS and treatments of the UNAIDS Guidelines on HIV and AIDS Human Rights.

International Educational Development and its partner organization have been alerted to similar developments in other parts of the world, where the rights of women are continuously violated based on incomplete scientific information and the policies growing out of them.

Forty-nine countries, amongst them the United States of America, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Finland, and Russia, are discriminating in their immigration laws against those with positive "HIV" test results.

In the name of all people, especially vulnerable groups such as women, we ask the international community to seek clarification on the following issues: Furthermore, we ask to ensure the implementation of the human rights of people living with a positive "HIV" test results, as outlined in the Geneva Declaration 1998 of People Living with a Positive HIV Test Results, the UNAIDS Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We also ask the international community to acknowledge the fact that many people with a positive "HIV" test result do not get AIDS and live healthily in the absence of so-called anti-"HIV" treatments. This fact is ignored by other "HIV" and AIDS organizations that are often funded by pharmaceutical companies.