The Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV-AIDS (BONELA) has expressed hope that the New Public Service Act will reduce discrimination against employees infected by HIV.
“We hope the Botswana government will honor the spirit and letter of the new act and push for the enactment of an HIV Employment Act,” said BONELA Director Uyapo Ndadi.
He said the new act protects job seekers against discrimination on the basis of their HIV status. It also extends protection to non citizens, who were in the past subjected to pre-employment HIV testing.
“This practice was discriminatory, and we are happy that government has acknowledged that. The new act will certainly improve our human rights standing in the eyes of the world,” said Ndadi.
The act also stipulates that employees who disclose confidential information about other employees, including their HIV status, are liable to a fine of not more than P500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.
However, Ndadi expressed concern that the new act excludes private sector employees, despite the fact that they are usually the victims of abuse, prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.
To that end, he said, Botswana’s Employment Act also has to be revised to be consistent with the new Public Service Act.