On Friday last week Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty received a complaint about the conduct of the International Secretariat (IS) and the International Board regarding the fast tracking of the development and consultation process for the Sex Work Policy discussion paper.
Salil Shetty has been requested to establish an independent investigation into the role of the IS and the Board during the development of the Sex Work Policy discussion paper and the consultation process.
In an internal document sent to Sections, Structure Chairs and Directors and the International Board, the International Secretariat admitted that….
‘There is no question that the consultation process could have been handled much better.’
The Sex Work Policy discussion paper will be considered in London at this weekend’s Chairs Assembly and Directors Forum 2014.
With just under 60% of Amnesty International Sections not submitting any response on the Sex Work Policy and only 4 Sections giving support to the policy it is surprising that Amnesty intends to persist with their policy direction.
Of the just over 40% of sections who submitted written feedback to the policy, all supported decriminalisation of sex workers.
The internal document also states that approximately 28% of sections that responded said they needed more research to be conducted by Amnesty to inform their views. And further, 38% of respondents had called for an extension to the consultation process. Others found the consultation process to be flawed.
During the previous 2013 consultation period on the Amnesty Sex Work Policy, some Amnesty Sections notified the International Secretariat that the policy was deficient in its rationale and evidence base.
The IS also realises that the Sex Work Policy may have detrimental impacts on the organisation:
‘Amnesty International must consider the risks incurred by adopting a policy on sex work, including with regard to the organization’s credibility, funding, membership, and partner relationships.’
NORMAC understands that many Amnesty members have been disappointed that this entire process has been fast tracked and that a more impartial approach to the various human rights approaches was not taken by Amnesty, as has been done by many jurisdictions recently when researching the broader human right implications of prostitution and its conflation with gender inequality, child abuse and sex trafficking globally.
The Amnesty members who submitted the complaint are also members of the Nordic Model Australia Coalition.