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President Uhuru Kenyatta's order on HIV data challenged in court

By Caroline Rwenji | June 16th 2015

A directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta requiring the compilation of a report on all school children living with HIV and Aids has been challenged in court.

The petitioners: Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network (Kelin), Children of God Relief Institute (Nyumbani) and two other parties, are apprehensive that compiling such a list violates the law and stigmatises the people living with HIV.

High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi certified the matter as urgent and directed that the parties file and serve the relevant documents before the matter is heard tomorrow.

The directive issued by the President on February 23 requires county commissioners and the ministries of Health, Education and Interior to collect up to date data and prepare a report on all school children living with HIV and information on their guardians.

The directive further calls for information on expectant women and breastfeeding mothers who are HIV-positive.

The petitioners stated that the Government agencies had proceeded to implement the directive without consulting people living with the virus, which they say contradicts Article 10 of the Constitution.

"The method of data collection under the said directive is prejudicial to the rights of the people living with HIV," said Allan Maleche, the executive director at Kelin.

He also said the National Aids Control Council (NACC) are holding the names illegally while implementing the president's directive. Achesa stated in a sworn affidavit that the ministries had continued implementing the directive despite numerous advisory notes from his organisation, constitutional commissions and networks of people living with HIV.

He added that a letter sent to the President on March 11 and a follow-up letter two weeks later were yet to be responded to.

They now want the court to declare the directive unconstitutional and a violation of people's rights. They also want the ministries and NACC to be compelled to destroy or codify all data in their possession collected as a result of the directive.

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