In July the hottest topic to be reported on is, undoubtedly, the global controversy that emerged when Amnesty International made public a draft policy defining a new line of work aimed at the protection of the human rights of sex workers, to be approved by the forthcoming meeting of its International Council (beginning on August 7th, in Dublin). As anti-prostitution organizations launched an international campaign — supported by Hollywood celebrities — calling for the suspension of the proposed policy, sex workers networks and their allies and partners, from all over the world, also raised their voices to defend Amnesty new guidelines. The news coverage has also been quite intense as it can be verified in the partial compilation of articles on the topic collected by SPW.
The SPW website also publishes two new articles that dialogue with this global debate. Michelle Agnoletti analyzes how two Brazilian recent episodes — the murders of five Brazilian prostitutes and a Federal Police crackdown on brothels to rescue women from sex exploitation and trafficking glaringly — illustrate the detrimental human rights effects of criminalization of sex work. The story told by Vanessa Class and Elsa Oliveira also illuminates the abuses experienced by migrant sex work in Johannesburg, while portraying how local organizing around human rights claims have many positive impacts.
On the SPW site readers can also find brief reports on two relevant UN debates and their outcomes. The first report describes the open hearing held on July 14th by the Human Right Committee to collect civil society views, as to enrich the drafting of a new General Comment on to Article 6th of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights on the ‘right to life’. While in this occasion, as expected, much attention has been devoted to abortion, other critical aspects have also been addressed. Two weeks later, after a very difficult negotiation, a resolution on Protection of the Family was approved at the Human Rights Council. As analyzed in the short SPW paper, networks committed to gender equality and sexual rights analyzed how the final text fails to recognize that diverse forms of family exist, as acknowledged by existing UN documents. To compensate this loss, however – and despite much pressure on the part of some states — similar language on family protection was not adopted at the subsequent final negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals, held at UN headquarters in New York.
It should not be a surprise that these harsh UN negotiations have taken place right after the US Supreme Court has positively ruled on same sex marriage rights. On the SPW website readers can access to two insightful articles that contribute to better understand the premises that grounded the Court decision: Jill Lepore’s analyses published at the New Yorker before the Court has delivered its final ruling; and Scott Long’s inspiring scrutiny of the political and ideological implications.
We also recommend
– The Belize Pride Event: the overlapping of LGBT tourism and sexual politics, by Justin Perez (University of California, Irvine).
– Mauro Cabral’s speech at Bob Hepple Equality Award
With great sadness SPW marks the departure of Gigi Francisco – activist, scholar, teacher and for a long time a working partner and wonderful friend of many of us. Gigi departure means a major loss for global feminisms and social justice movements.