“After a long hard fight, eventually the Minister became involved and the policy about not reconstructing the bodies of people with HIV was changed, as it should have been years ago”.
We wanted to make sure that no one else would have to go through what we had to go through. It was so awful for the whole family – for his brothers, for his dad, for me.
HALC represented us and we made a complaint under the Anti-Discrimination Act. The reason the Department wouldn’t put his body back together was because of his HIV, and it was so obviously discriminatory. But the Department of Forensic Medicine said it was not discrimination because now that Nathan was dead, he was not a person anymore, so the Anti-Discrimination Act didn’t apply to him.
Under the law, relatives can make a complaint of discrimination. As Nathan’s mother, I made the complaint, as his mother. The Department of Forensic Medicine argued that once a person is dead, they cease to have relatives and that our relationship as mother and son was no more, now that he was dead.
After we appealed the original Tribunal decision, it was decided that the Act did cover us, it did protect us. Until then it was not certain because of how the Act was written. After a long hard fight, eventually the Minister became involved and the policy about not reconstructing the bodies of people with HIV was changed, as it should have been years ago.
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