Draconian bill

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2008

Lawmakers in the Indonesian province of Papua are debating a bill which proposes to implant microchips in hiv positive people. The legislation proposes tracking the movements of hiv-positive people who behave in what some MPs describe as "an irresponsible way". Manangsang, a medical doctor who is also a member of Papua's parliament, put forward the bill. It also suggests tattooing as a way of alerting health officials to carriers of the virus. It recommends mandatory testing for all Papuans, with special identity cards issued to those who test positive.

Papua has one of the worst infection rates outside Africa. It is home to almost half of Indonesia's cases of hiv, the result of a thriving sex trade and large numbers of migrant workers. The region is not equipped to deal with the pandemic. Less than 20 per cent clinics can test the virus, while much of the population is cut off from towns, without electricity and transport.

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