NSWP: Cheryl Overs

Cheryl Overs, founder of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law sets out her summary of sex workers claims for labour, gender, health and economic rights as well as principles in respect of human trafficking, research in sex workers, clients and child sexual abuse. She draws upon the writings of sex workers and publications of sex worker groups as well as notes and memories from more than thirty years of activism at national, regional and global levels.

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Civil Society: Oslo Declaration

OSLO DECLARATION ON HIV CRIMINALISATION

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Resources

International

For more information on the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) visit the website here

Visit Edwin J Bernard's Leading Blog on criminalization for up to date news from across the globe here.

Learn more about the People living with HIV Stigma Index here.  

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Where is the criminal law being used to prosecute HIV transmission or exposure?

Current reviews indicate that 41 countries – 20 per cent of the countries in the world – have laws under which HIV transmission or exposure has been prosecuted using either general criminal or public health laws or HIV specific legislation. This includes 21 countries in Europe, 9 in Asia, 4 in Africa, 3 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2 in Oceania and 2 in North America. Further research is needed to uncover more details and consolidate precise numbers.

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Ten Reasons Why Criminalization is a bad idea

Edwin Cameron, Justice of the Constitutional Court, South Africa

Today, one of the most serious issues in the AIDS epidemic is the use of criminal statutes and criminal prosecutions against HIV transmission. Such laws are increasingly wide in their application, and frightening in their effects. They aggressively attack rational efforts to lessen the impact and spread of the epidemic and are creating a crisis in HIV management and prevention efforts.

So what lies behind this increasing trend of criminalization? What is the rationale for such laws?

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REASSERTING RIGHTS

Susan Timberlake, Human Rights Advisor, UNAIDS

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PROTECTING OR PROSECUTING WOMEN?

This case study highlights how laws that criminalize HIV transmission or exposure – even though they may have been conceived to protect women and girls – can in fact place them at greater risk of prosecution and exacerbate their vulnerability to HIV, violence and marginalization.

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AN EPIDEMIC OF BAD LAWS: BUILDING RESISTANCE

Richard Pearshouse, Director, Research & Policy, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Since 2005, an epidemic of HIV laws has swept Africa. National legislators often feel a strong impulse to ‘do something’ in response to the epidemic. The issue of HIV legislation is inherently sensitive – far too often it has lead to simplistic laws driven by prejudice rather than evidence. Momentum to legislate HIV appears to be increasing, rather than slowing. It’s vitally important to resist this simplistic urge to legislate.

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Is there any legitimacy in criminalizing HIV?

Matthew Weait, Professor of Law and Policy and Pro-Vice-Master for Academic Partnerships, Birkbeck College, University of London

Criminal law is the most powerful mechanism a society has for expressing collective disapproval of a person’s conduct and typically results in the imposition of punishment – whether that be a monetary penalty or imprisonment.

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Switzerland: Raising Doubt

SWITZERLAND: RAISING DOUBT – ARE YOU INFECTIOUS IF YOU ARE HIV-POSITIVE AND HAVE AN UNDETECTABLE VIRAL LOAD?

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