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Lusaka - A decision by the Zambian Air Force (ZAF) to subject two of its employees to mandatory HIV tests was a violation of their human rights, High Court judge Elizabeth Muyovwe ruled on Thursday.
"The mandatory HIV testing that was done on the petitioners was done in violation of the human rights and the right to privacy of the petitioners. I find that their consent for the violation of human rights stands," Muyovwe said.
In 2001, Charles Chookole and Stanley Chingaipe, both 41, employees of ZAF, were tested for HIV without their consent and dismissed from employment a year later.
Owing to the dismissal, they sought the court's intervention, arguing that the treatment of subjecting them to mandatory HIV tests was a violation of the Zambian constitution.
"I find that subjecting of Chookole and Chingaipe to mandatory HIV testing was a violation of their human rights and as such should be compensated. They should be given 10 million Kwacha (about $2 000) with interest at 10 percent bank rate," Muyovwe said.
She ruled, however, that their desire to be reinstated could not hold because they were dismissed on the grounds that they were not fit to work in the defence wing.
"Their dismissal was not linked to HIV but medical fitness. There is no dispute that HIV tests violated human rights," Muyovwe said.
Zambia has about 12 million people, and 15.2 percent of adults have HIV, according to the United Nations Aids agency. - Sapa-AFP