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EU pressure on US to abolish HIV discrimination intensifies

June 23, 2008 6:13 PM

Since 1993 the US government has denied Visa Waiver to individuals suffering HIV or Aids and has made acquiring a visa very difficult. This arrangement amounts to a near ban on travel to the US for sufferers of HIV and Aids. This policy is widely considered to be both discriminatory and lacking in any objective justification. Earlier this year, Lib Dem London MEP Sarah Ludford raised this matter in the European Parliament and launched a campaign to include the abolition of HIV/Aids discrimination in EU visa negotiations with the US. The petition has collected hundreds of signatures.

As pressure intensifies on the US to abolish its policy Jacques Barrot, European Commissioner for Justice, has taken this issue up in a letter to Michael Chertoff, US Secretary of Homeland Security.

Commenting on this development, Baroness Sarah Ludford said, "US visa discrimination against HIV/Aids sufferers is a major issue. I'm delighted that the Commissioner for Justice is responding to pressure from MEPs like myself and giving this campaign the attention it deserves by taking it up with the US authorities."

"My colleagues in the European Parliament and I have fought hard to get this issue included in EU negotiations over US visa waiver policy and this represents a great leap forward for the campaign".