IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Autor)
The following information is provided in a
7 May 1999 Tico Times article by Richard Stern.
Currently, the Social Security Institute of
El Salvador (ISSS), which insures about 20 per cent of the
Salvadoran population, provides only AZT to persons with AIDS and
not anti-retroviral medications. A non-governmental organization
called Atlacatl has filed a challenge against the ISSS with the
Salvadoran Supreme Court for failing to provide these medications
which are available only to those who can afford them. This leaves
80 per cent of individuals suffering from AIDS uninsured and with
only "sporadic medical attention."
According to official statistics, 77 per
cent of those suffering from AIDS are heterosexuals and 12 per cent
are from the gay and bisexual population. "However, many gay men
with AIDS said that they were heterosexual to avoid even worse
In the article, president of Atlacatl, Odir
Miranda, is stated as saying: "...those of us who have AIDS are
viewed as easily expendable from society...our value is less
because we are supposedly bad people for having contracted AIDS."
Miranda had travelled to Washington in November 1998 to testify
before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on the issue of
violations of human rights of those who live with AIDS in El
Salvador. According to an AIDS Action report, Miranda was the first
person to go public in El Salvador that he was living with AIDS
Another Richard Stern article states that
the country has no laws to protect people who are discriminated
because of AIDS (21 Mar. 1999). The only countries in Central
America which have passed laws against AIDS discrimination are
Costa Rica and Nicaragua in 1998 (ibid.). The article also states
that in February 1998, the Salvadoran Ombudsman
(Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos) ruled
that it is the responsibility of the ISSS to provide "adequate
treatment, including anti-retroviral medications, to its affilates
who have AIDS." The decision, however, is not legally binding, but
the Procuraduría plans to pursue the case (ibid.).
Please consult the May 1999 Tico
Times article, available at Regional Documentation Centres in
Toronto and Montreal, for information on cases of discrimination
against persons with AIDS in El Salvador.
This Response was prepared after
researching publicly accessible information currently available to
the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is
not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any
particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the
list of additional sources consulted in researching this
AIDS Action, ACTUP, AIDS Prevention
News. 3 September 1998. Richard Stern and Guillermo Murillo. "In El
Salvador People With AIDS Report Cautious Optimism in Government
Negotiations." [Internet] http://www.glilnn.com/news/aidsact.
htm [Accessed on 16 June 1999]
Stern, Richard. 21 March 1999. "In El
Salvador, People With AIDS Organize to Combat Discrimination."
[Accessed on 16 June 1999]
The Tico Times [San
José]. 7 May 1999. Richard Stern. "AIDS Patients Battle
Discrimination." Central America NewsPak [Austin]. Vol.
14, No. 6, 26 Apr.-9 May 1999.
Additional Sources Consulted
Central America Report
ILGA Bulletin [Brussels].
International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (IGLHRC). Action Alerts [San Francisco].
Latinamerican Press [Lima].
Latin America Regional Reports:
Caribbean and Central America Report [London]. 1998-1999.
Pan-American Health Organization
Website. [Internet] www.paho.org.
Electronic Sources: IRB Databases,
REFWORLD, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet and WNC.