- WORLD OVER
A NUMBER of Tanzanian schools have sparked outrage by forcing HIV-positive pupils to wear red ribbons to School.
As activists against social Injustice, we cannot sit and watch this happening to our Children. Media media reports from Tanzania, both local and International have reported several schools, with atleast seven of them in one district near the capital, Dodoma, where children are forced to publicly declare their status with a ribbon sewn on to their uniforms.
This is a gross abuse of Childrens' Rights as one's sickness is confidential unless one decides to share it with others. The act of making children wear a special uniform because of their Hiv Status is not only discriminatory but also highly likely to stigmatise these children. We commend the work of organisations on the ground such as TAMASHA, Kibaha Association of People Living with HIV/Aids, and Partners such as UNICEF and UNFPA in Tanzania, but we want the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to take action against this inhuman practice against children.
Quoting the voice of one headmaster - Probably from Kibaha Primary School, on BBC Radio, Mr. Said Mohammed Lukema, claimed that parents of the HIV-positive pupils had asked for their status be highlighted so they could be excused from strenuous activity. "Our school has pupils who are suffering from various diseases. The school and the society at large have decided to label pupils' uniforms." Mr. Said was also Quoted by the BBC saying that the students were excused from tasks such as sweeping and fetching water.
We the undersigned here bellow, strongly condemn this act with the stongest terms possible as a gross abuse of children's rights and under no circumstances could this approach be sanctioned. This act subjects children with Hiv to stigma and discrimination, which is already a challenge for people with HIV in Africa.
The suggestion that children who are HIV positive cannot undertake school activities is wrong and unwelcome, unless the children themselves ask to be excused (without being Labelled). Children who are HIV positive can live healthy and productive lives with the right care, treatment and respect. Under no circumstances should any child be subjected to heavy workloads - as work for children is supposed to be enjoyed, fun and participatory by all.
Following confirmed reports from Tanzania about schools forcing HIV-positive pupils to wear red ribbons to School.
We the undersigned, do hereby strongly condemn the discriminatory act of labbleing children with Hiv/Aids in Tanzanian schools and petition the Government of the Republic of Tanzania to:
1. Put an end to this crazy idea of making Hiv Positive Children wear Red Uniforms and ribbons to school as it is not only a gross abuse of their rights, but also discriminatory and likely to stigmatize the children.
2. Government of Tanzania through its structures and partners should do all possible ways to provide counseling and psychological support to children and families and communities affected by this reckless behavior of the school management.
3. The Government of Tanzania should to investigate these issues through their legal and institutional mechanisms and bring to an end this kind of Policy in Tanzania's schools. Teachers and Headteachers should be be sensitized about the rights of Children which must be respected at whatever cost and whosoever does not comply should be made to account for their actions according to Tanzania's law.
4. Tanzanian Government should come out strongly to denounce these actions and take all necessary steps to educate the masses through its structures and partners about Hiv/Aids, transmission and prevention as well as care, treatment and support to people living with Hiv/Aids - and especially, the Children affected!!
Please kindly support these innocecnt Tanzanian Children to live a discrimination free life at school and in their communities by signing this petion.
The STOP DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH HIV/AIDS petition to WORLD OVER was written by Ahmed Shaban Abdulrahim and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.