160 HIV-Positive Delegates at XVI International AIDS Conference Make Refugee Claims in Canada
About 160 HIV-positive people who entered Canada from other countries to attend the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto last month have made refugee claims to stay in the country, Toronto's Globe and Mail reports. Although no person is disqualified from making a refugee claim in Canada based on their HIV status, the country rejects immigration applications from people determined to place an extreme burden on Canada's health care system, according to the Globe and Mail. Refugee claimants must show they were mistreated in their home countries and would undergo "cruel and unusual treatment" if they returned, the Globe and Mail reports. "Simply being sick from a country too poor to provide you with drugs isn't enough to qualify under the refugee definition," Audrey Macklin, a law professor at the University of Toronto and former member of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, said. According to the Globe and Mail, the visas of many of the HIV-positive delegates at the AIDS conference who are making refugee claims were sponsored by nongovernmental organizations that "were so worried they would defect" that "many dispatched minders to ensure the delegates showed up for their return flights." The conference delegates who have made refugee claims are from El Salvador, Eritrea, Peru, South Africa, Uganda and other countries (Jimenez, Globe and Mail, 9/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.