Unregistered refugee with AIDS, her baby to be deported

Unregistered refugee with AIDS, her baby to be deported

İsmail Saymaz – İZMİR
Unregistered refugee with AIDS, her baby to be deported

Turkish authorities will deport an unregistered refugee diagnosed with AIDS and her newborn over a “threat to the public health.”

The case concerns a woman who came from Angola to Turkey via illegal means, together with her husband and a child, and then settled in Turkey’s coastal province of İzmir.

The 39-year-old woman, who is known only by the initials F.B., later got pregnant in Turkey. She gave birth to a baby girl on May 20 at Tepecik Research Hospital in İzmir. Shortly after giving birth, the woman told the health officials that she had AIDS. Her baby who had been exposed to HIV during birth was treated with post-exposure prophylaxis to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. The baby was handed over to her mother on June 20.

In the meantime, the İzmir Governor’s Office took steps to deport the woman over her posing “a threat to the public health.”

Security officers detained the woman and her baby as they were leaving the hospital premises.

Authorities on June 22 put the Angolan woman and her newborn in a repatriation center in İzmir’s Harmandalı district, leading to the woman’s application for asylum on June 27. 

“In the repatriation center, the woman is staying by herself with her baby. She is not feeding the baby [so as] not to transmit the disease. The baby is given infant formula,” said the woman’s lawyer, Nilay Geylanlı Yorgancıoğlu.

“Contagious disease and AIDS cannot be by itself a reason for deportation. It can be possible only if the foreigner who is to be deported avoids the appropriate treatment. And F.B. has asked for health help,” she said.

The lawyer said that a long stay at the repatriation center could put the baby’s life at risk. The infant is already malnourished due to not being fed with her mother’s breast milk.

“It has been determined that the baby has not been infected [with HIV],” she said.