07/07/15 – Amnesty International condemned over fast tracking of sex laws policy

MEDIA RELEASE

Human Rights and Womens groups along with Survivors have been outraged over the continued attempt by Amnesty International to rail road through their policy on prostitution after being exposed for failing to properly consult with their international membership base and stakeholders.

The proposed Amnesty International International Council policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work released at the Amnesty International Australia AGM held in Sydney last weekend, has been roundly condemned by human rights, womens’ and Survivor groups and Amnesty members all over the world.

The policy will be decided on by the International Board at a meeting in Dublin in August.

This is an appalling abuse of due process by the Amnesty International Council and for an organisation that has become increasingly top down in its consultation processes with members. The International Secretariat previously admitted after receiving responses in 2013 to their Sex Work policy discussion paper that…

‘There is no question that the consultation process could have been handled much better.’ “

Of the 29 Sections which submitted consultation responses nearly all were from Europe and North America but few responses were received from sections in developing nations or those where indigenous populations have proved to be at high risk of human rights abuses in the sex trade.

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 appalling that Amnesty persists with their policy direction.

Of the 40% of sections who submitted written feedback to the policy, all supported decriminalisation of sex workers.

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 International Secretariat also realised 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 devastated 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

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