Nepal

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Nepal: Draft criminal code prohibiting infectious disease transmission singles out people with HIV and hepatitis B

03 Nov 2014
Lawmakers in Nepal are considering a draft law that singles out people with HIV and hepatitis B, contrary to recommendations from UNAIDS and the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. According to the draft text, tweeted by IRIN Humanitarian … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

Proposed amendment to the Muluki Ain (General Code of Nepal), Chapter 5, Offenses against Public Interest, Health, Safety, Facilities and Morals, Article 103 Prohibition of transmission HIV criminalises people who are:

“aware of knowledge of one’s own positive HIV or Hepatitis B status”, who “purposefully or knowingly commit acts that would transmit Hepatitis B or HIV, give blood or coerce to give blood or come into sexual contact without precautionary measures in place, or cause entry of blood, semen, saliva, or other bodily fluids into the body of another.”

Penalty for acts with intent is up to 10 years in prison and a fine; without intent up to 3 years and a fine.

The law is vague. It criminalises any act that "would" transmit HIV or hepatitis B either through blood donation or via "sexual contact without precautionary measures in place" as well as "caus[ing] entry of blood, semen, saliva, or other bodily fluids into the body of another.” Disclosure (and agreement to engage in sex) and/or "precautionary measures" are defences. Local advocates, including human rights journalists, are sensitising parliamentarians to the notion that such laws do more harm than good to public health.

 Bernard EJ. Nepal: Draft criminal code prohibiting infectious disease transmission singles out people with HIV and hepatitis B. HIV Justice Network, 3 November 2014. Available at: http://www.hivjustice.net/news/nepal-draft-criminal-code-prohibiting-infectious-disease-transmission-singles-out-people-with-hiv-and-hepatitis-b

Specific laws

Specific law enacted No

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: No

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No

Prosecutions

Number of prosecutions 0

Convictions

Number of convictions 0

Laws

Applicable laws

None enacted however, a proposed amendment to the Muluki Ain (General Code of Nepal), Chapter 5, Offenses against Public Interest, Health, Safety, Facilities and Morals, Article 103 Prohibition of transmission HIV criminalises people who are:

Penalty for acts with intent is up to 10 years in prison and a fine; without intent up to 3 years and a fine.


Applicable key wording

people who aware of knowledge of one’s own positive HIV or Hepatitis B status”, 

     1. purposefully or knowingly commit acts that would transmit Hepatitis B or HIV, give blood or coerce to give blood or 

    2.  come into sexual contact without precautionary measures in place, or cause entry of blood, semen, saliva, or other bodily fluids into the body of another.

Discussion

The law is vague. It criminalises any act that "would" transmit HIV or hepatitis B either through blood donation or via "sexual contact without precautionary measures in place" as well as "caus[ing] entry of blood, semen, saliva, or other bodily fluids into the body of another.” Disclosure (and agreement to engage in sex) and/or "precautionary measures" are defences. Local advocates, including human rights journalists, are sensitising parliamentarians to the notion that such laws do more harm than good to public health.

 Bernard EJ. Nepal: Draft criminal code prohibiting infectious disease transmission singles out people with HIV and hepatitis B. HIV Justice Network, 3 November 2014. Available at: http://www.hivjustice.net/news/nepal-draft-criminal-code-prohibiting-infectious-disease-transmission-singles-out-people-with-hiv-and-hepatitis-b

Further reading

Edwin J Bernard and Sally Cameron. Advancing HIV Justice 2: Building momentum in global advocacy against HIV criminalisation. HIV Justice Network and GNP+. Brighton/Amsterdam, April 2016. http://www.hivjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/AHJ2.final2_.10May2016.pdf

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/site/news/?country=157&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Bernard EJ. Nepal: Draft criminal code prohibiting infectious disease transmission singles out people with HIV and hepatitis B. HIV Justice Network, 3 November 2014. (includes Nepalese text and translation). http://www.hivjustice.net/news/nepal-draft-criminal-code-prohibiting-infectious-disease-transmission-singles-out-people-with-hiv-and-hepatitis-b

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017