Human rights and compulsory testing, disclosure of a person’s health status
Forcible testing is a violation of bodily integrity and autonomy. The UN’s expert health agencies have affirmed that HIV testing should only be done with informed consent, meaning testing must be both informed and voluntary; furthermore, testing should be accompanied by pre- and post-test counselling and the confidentiality of test results should be guaranteed.
The publication of pictures, names, addresses and medical information also violates the right to privacy, as laid down in the major European and international human rights treaties. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 17) prohibits
arbitrary interference with a person’s privacy. The International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (Article 12) guarantees protection of the confidentiality of
personal health information, as part of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8) guarantees the right to respect for private and family life, and prohibits any public authority from interfering with this right except as is necessary in a democratic society in order to achieve such objectives as protection of health or protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Public disclosure of the identity and medical records of the sex workers concerned does not serve such objectives. There is no permissible limitation on the right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; this right is “non derogable”.) However, any such limitations may not be arbitrary, unreasonable, or discriminatory.
Furthermore, both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 7) and
the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 3) prohibit the state and its officials from engaging in inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as does the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Article 16). These prohibitions encompass not only acts that cause physical pain, but also those that cause mental suffering to the victim.
The Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Section 12 obliges to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.
By ratification of this treaty, Member States oblige themselves to ensure the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health facilities, goods and services, and to guarantee the realization of universal access to health prevention, treatment, care and support (PTCS) services, while taking into consideration the basic principle of non-discrimination and respect for confidentiality. Article 12 includes the right to have personal health data treated with confidentiality as part of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Moreover, health facilities, goods and services must be respectful of medical ethics and be designed to respect confidentiality.
Registration of a person as a “prostitute” in police database
The European Court of Human Rights Judgment (18 October 2011, nr. 16188/07) in the case of a French woman classified as a “prostitute” for five years in Geneva police database, has sentenced that it was a violation of article 8, the right to respect for private life.“ the Court concluded that the storage in the police records of allegedly false data concerning her private life had breached Ms Khelili’s right to respect for her private life and considered that the retention of the word “prostitute” for years was neither justified nor necessary in a democratic society.”
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