Tuesday, March 6, 2007

US: Judge Rules Groups May Deny Funding to AIDS Groups

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Bush administration can deny funding to nonprofit AIDS groups that don't publicly disavow prostitution and sex trafficking.

Overturning a lower court's decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the AIDS groups' free speech rights would not be violated if the money was linked to a pledge to uphold government policy.

At issue is the case of DKT International Inc., which provides family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programs in 11 countries. The group, which helps distribute condoms to prostitutes and other sex workers in Vietnam, has refused to sign a pledge to support the Bush administration policies.

In 2005, DKT sued the U.S. Agency for International Development, contending its free speech rights were violated by a 2003 law requiring groups to explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking in order to qualify for part of a $15 billion AIDS program. A U.S. District Court ruling last year agreed, saying the funding conditions insist that groups ``parrot'' the U.S. government's position on prostitution...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT Guardian.co.uk

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