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Thread: Dublin 11 August; Amnesty International votes to protect sex workers

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    Lightbulb Dublin 11 August; Amnesty International votes to protect sex workers

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/ne...f-sex-workers/

    Quote
    11 August 2015, 17:00 UTC

    The Resolution that was adopted;


    Policy on state obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of sex workers (International Board)

    The International Council
    REQUESTS the International Board to adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalisation of sex work, taking into account:



    1. The starting point of preventing and redressing human rights violations against sex workers, and in particular the need for states to not only review and repeal laws that make sex workers vulnerable to human rights violations, but also refrain from enacting such laws.
    2. Amnesty International’s overarching commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s rights.
    3. The obligation of states to protect every individual in their jurisdiction from discriminatory policies, laws and practices, given that the status and experience of being discriminated against are often key factors in what leads people to engage in sex work, as well as in increasing vulnerability to human rights violations while engaged in sex work and in limiting options for voluntarily ceasing involvement in sex work.
    4. The harm reduction principle.
    5. States have the obligation to prevent and combat trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and to protect the human rights of victims of trafficking.
    6. States have an obligation to ensure that sex workers are protected from exploitation and can use criminal law to address acts of exploitation.
    7. Any act related to the sexual exploitation of a child must be criminalized. Recognizing that a child involved in a commercial sex act is a victim of sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international human rights law, and that states must take all appropriate measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
    8. Evidence that sex workers often engage in sex work due to marginalisation and limited choices, and that therefore Amnesty International will urge states to take appropriate measures to realize the economic, social and cultural rights of all people so that no person enters sex work against their will or is compelled to rely on it as their only means of survival, and to ensure that people are able to stop sex work if and when they choose.
    9. Ensuring that the policy seeks to maximize protection of the full range of human rights – in addition to gender equality, women’s rights, and non-discrimination - related to sex work, in particular security of the person, the rights of children, access to justice, the right to health, the rights of Indigenous peoples and the right to a livelihood.
    10. Recognizing and respecting the agency of sex workers to articulate their own experiences and define the most appropriate solutions to ensure their own welfare and safety, while also complying with broader, relevant international human rights principles regarding participation in decision-making, such as the principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent with respect to Indigenous peoples.
    11. The evidence from Amnesty International’s and external research on the lived experiences of sex workers, and on the human rights impact of various criminal law and regulatory approaches to sex work.
    12. The policy will be fully consistent with Amnesty International’s positions with respect to consent to sexual activity, including in contexts that involve abuse of power or positions of authority.
    13. Amnesty international does not take a position on whether sex work should be formally recognized as work for the purposes of regulation. States can impose legitimate restrictions on the sale of sexual services, provided that such restrictions comply with international human rights law, in particular in that they must be for a legitimate purpose, provided by law, necessary for and proportionate to the legitimate aim sought to be achieved, and not discriminatory.

    The policy will be capable of flexible and responsive application across and within different jurisdictions, recognizing that Amnesty entities may undertake work on different aspects of this policy and can take an incremental approach to this work (in accordance with and within the limits of this policy) based on assessments of specific legal and policy contexts.

    The International Board will ensure that, following the release of the final research report, Sections and structures have an opportunity to review and give feedback on the final draft policy before it is adopted.


    AI's comment


    A crucial vote to protect the human rights of sex workers was passed today in Dublin at Amnesty International’s decision-making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM). Delegates from around the world adopted a resolution which authorized the International Board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue.

    “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    The resolution recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.

    “We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards. We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world,” said Salil Shetty.

    The research and consultation carried out in the development of this policy in the past two years concluded that this was the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights and lessen the risk of abuse and violations they face.

    The violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from health care and housing services and other social and legal protection.

    The policy has drawn from an extensive evidence base from sources including UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UN Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. We have also conducted research in four countries.
    The consultation included sex worker groups, groups representing survivors of prostitution, abolitionist organizations, feminist and other women's rights representatives, LGBTI activists, anti- trafficking agencies and HIV/AIDS organizations.

    Amnesty International considers human trafficking abhorrent in all of its forms, including sexual exploitation, and should be criminalized as a matter of international law. This is explicit in this new policy and all of Amnesty International’s work.

    “This is a historic day for Amnesty International. It was not a decision that was reached easily or quickly and we thank all our members from around the world, as well as all the many groups we consulted, for their important contribution to this debate. They have helped us reach an important decision that will shape this area of our human rights work going forward,”
    said Salil Shetty.
    Mmmm-hmm




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