South Africa: Mistreatment of Protesters for HIV Treatment in Queenstown

IGLHRC's letter of concern regarding the shooting with rubber bullets, tear gassing, and mistreatment of peaceful protesters asking for HIV treatment in Queenstown, Eastern Cape on 12 July 2005.

15 July 2005
Mrs ZNB Balindlela (Premier)
Premier of the Eastern Cape
Office of the Premier
Independence Avenue
BISHO
5605

Dear Mrs. Balindlela:

I would like to express my extreme concern regarding the shooting with rubber bullets, tear gassing and mistreatment of peaceful protesters in Queenstown, Eastern Cape on 12 July 2005. We have learned from our colleagues at the Treatment Action Campaign, that the South African Police Services in Queenstown brutally assaulted unarmed, peaceful protesters asking for HIV treatment, injuring 40 people. Many of the protesters were people who live openly with HIV/AIDS.

The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status.

We urge you, Madame Premiere, to intervene and ensure that the people of Eastern Cape have the right to non-violently express their beliefs and fight for the right to adequate health care without the strong arm tactics of the past. We also ask you to meet urgently with TAC to ensure:

  • Rapid implementation of the treatment plan and the roll-out of ARV therapy in the Eastern Cape;
  • Prioritization of human resources for the health care system ;
  • Increased treatment literacy and community mobilization and
  • A full inquiry into the regrettable vents of 12 July.

Yours truly,

Paula Ettelbrick
Paula's signature
Executive Director