Lutherans call for removal of HIV-related travel restrictions

By staff writers
July 8, 2008

At a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, the Council of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has called on its member churches to advocate for the removal of discriminatory travel and entry restrictions, and similar examples of stigmatizations to people living with HIV.

“We [the Council] draw the attention of LWF member churches to the existence in approximately 70 countries of travel and entry restrictions which discriminate against people living with HIV,” the Council stated.

HIV is the only medical condition that renders people inadmissible to the US, which is one of 12 countries including Libya, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, that prohibit HIV-positive noncitizens from entering their countries.

The move followed recommendations from its Program Committee for International Affairs and Human Rights, presented by Rev Dr David Pfrimmer, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

The recommendation was made during the adoption of proposals from the LWF Program Committee for International Affairs and Human Rights.

The council requested that the LWF General Secretary write to the US government and other leading supporters of HIV-related travel and entry restrictions, seeking the elimination of such restrictions.

The Council is the LWF’s governing body meeting between Assemblies held every six years. The current Council was appointed at the July 2003 Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada.

It comprises the President, Treasurer and 48 persons elected by the Assembly. Other members include advisors, lay and ordained persons, representing the different LWF regions.

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