The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) welcomes the recent law reforms in Mongolia that have removed all travel restrictions and other discriminatory provisions for people living with HIV. The reforms which were passed by Mongolia’s Parliament in mid-December of last year took effect on 15 January 2013.
The Law on Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome removes all HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence. Foreigners applying for visas to Mongolia are no longer required to disclose or provide documentation of HIV status.
“I commend Mongolia for taking this bold step and I hope this will encourage other countries to follow their example and move the world towards zero HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director.
UNAIDS advocates for the right to freedom of movement—regardless of HIV status. There is no evidence to suggest that restrictions on the entry, stay or residence of people living with HIV protect public health.
Mongolia’s reforms also removed employment restrictions that prevented people living with HIV from undertaking certain jobs, including in the food industry. The new law has also encouraged the creation of a multi-sectorial body comprised of government, civil society and private sector representatives to help put in place the reforms.
With the removal of Mongolia’s restrictions, UNAIDS counts 44 countries, territories, and areas that continue to impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status. There are five countries with a complete ban on the entry and stay of people living with HIV and five more countries deny visas even for short-term stays. Nineteen countries deport individuals once their HIV-positive status is discovered.