Stop Violence Against Women: a global policy on sex work

Shepard Fairey for Amnesty

Amnesty International is currently in the process of considering a global policy on sex work.

We have been aware of the need to develop our thinking on this issue for a while, informed by work on our Stop Violence Against Women campaign, and then on poverty and human rights. Both campaigns highlighted gaps in our policies as they relate to the human rights of sex workers.

For these reasons, our International research headquarters (the International Secretariat) undertook a study of the issue and has proposed a draft policy for consultation.

The draft policy proposes the decriminalisation of activities relating to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults, on the basis that this is the best means to protect the rights of sex workers and ensure that these individuals receive adequate medical care, legal assistance and police protection.

However, we acknowledge that these issues are complex and opinion is polarised. Proponents of different policy responses invoke core human rights principles in justifying their positions. As a human rights organisation, we therefore think it is important to consider our position in this debate.

We value debate and have not yet endorsed any particular position.

The final decision on the policy will be made by the movement’s International Board informed by the consultation undertaken by Amnesty offices around the world.

There are more than 50 national sections of Amnesty worldwide, of which Amnesty UK is one.

Ultimately, Amnesty UK’s position will be determined by our members and so we are encouraging all Amnesty UK members to take part in the debate.

To do so please email with your membership details and full postal address and we will send you the consultation documents. Alternatively, you may write to us with your membership details at the address below. Please state your membership details and full postal address in any communications:

Consultation on sex work
c/o Chief Executive’s Office
Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard

The deadline for consultation is 21 March 2014.

Amnesty UK members will have a further opportunity to discuss the issue at our Annual General Meeting on 12-13 April 2014, and will vote to decide on our position as a section of Amnesty, which we will then represent at the global decision-making bodies of Amnesty.

Anti-censorship feminists question why only some forms of sexist communication (namely sexually arousing/explicit ones) should be banned, while not advocating bans against equally misogynist public discourse. Susie Bright notes, “It’s a far different criticism to note that porn is sexist. So are all commercial media. That’s like tasting several glasses of salt water and insisting only one of them is salty. The difference with porn is that it is people fucking, and we live in a world that cannot tolerate that image in public.’ (in italiano)

#CookedNews, #WomenInPower#women’s expressions sexuality,

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The prisoners of conscience of Sochi2014

Russian activist Yevgeny Vitishko

The re-arrest today of yet another environmental activist in Russia’s Krasnodar region where the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will open on 7 February, as well as his brief detention along with five colleagues last night, are more evidence of growing efforts to clamp down on civil society ahead of the Games, Amnesty International said.

 Igor Kharchenko of the Russian NGO Environmental Watch for North Caucasus (Ecologicheskaya Vakhta po Severnomu Kavkazu) is currently being held by police in Krasnodar, the regional capital, where they had arrived ahead of the Olympic torch relay. He was arrested today under the pretext that his car had been ‘involved in a crime’, shortly after three masked men had smashed in the front and back windows of the vehicle.

‘Just days away from the official opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian authorities are using every trick in the book to muzzle freedom of expression and silence dissenting voices,’ said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow Office.

Kharchenko is one of six activists from Environmental Watch who were also detained last night for several hours in Krasnodar before being released. They felt compelled to scrap plans for a Sochi launch of their report exposing environmental damage caused by the construction ahead of the Games.

Their detention came the same day that their fellow environmentalist Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested in the Krasnodar Region city of Tuapse and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention, purportedly for swearing in public.

‘This spate of harassment of civil society activists bodes ill for the coming weeks, and raises fears that the Sochi Games will be a human rights-free zone. Even more troubling is what will happen to Russian activists after the Olympic medals are handed out and the international attention fades,’ said Sergei Nikitin.

‘Silencing civil society does nothing to increase security around the Sochi Games and instead broadcasts to the world how the Russian authorities are failing spectacularly to uphold and protect international human rights standards.

As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics comes closer, harassment against civil society activists has intensified, Amnesty International said today after the arrest of an environmentalist for allegedly swearing in public.

Yevgeny Vitishko was arrested today in Tuapse, part of the Sochi area where the Games will take place. He has been reportedly charged with ‘petty hooliganism‘, allegedly for swearing previously at a bus stop. At a court hearing today he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention.

‘Vitishko’s name has now become synonymous with harassment of civil society activists in the run-up to Sochi Games. Vitishko and his friends have been trying to expose environmental violations during the preparation of the Sochi Olympics. For this they are being punished. By trying to lock him up as a ‘petty hooligan’ the authorities are trying to gag him,’ said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

‘The concern is what will happen to civil society after the closure of the Olympics after the international focus moves away.’

Yevgeny Vitishko and his fellow activists have been actively involved in protests regarding the deforestation and illegal construction and fencing in areas of protected forest around Sochi.

In 2012, he received a suspended sentence in connection with an environmental protest. Last December, a court in Tuapse ruled that he should serve three years in prison for violating a curfew associated with the suspended sentence. His appeal hearing was reportedly scheduled for 22 February 2014, but now all information regarding it has been conspicuously removed from the court’s website.

Amnesty International has already raised concern about his unfair trial which resulted in a court decision to send him to prison colony for three years. His arrest comes as he is awaiting his appeal hearing.

Vitishko’s supporters fear that he will be held in custody until the day of his appeal under administrative charges, and then be sent to a prison colony.

Rights groups have accused Russian officials of harassing activists and journalists in the Sochi area, detaining them on trumped-up charges.

The Olympics are projected to cost $51 billion, or more than every other Winter Olympics combined. The high price tag is being blamed on Sochi being extremely ill-suited to host an Olympics and rampant corruption.

On Wednesday, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were set to make their first public appearance in the United States after being released from a Russian prison (23dec.). They were scheduled to speak at a Brooklyn concert organized by the human rights advocacy group and featuring stars such as Madonna.

Alekhina said she wants Americans to look beyond the grandeur of the projects and buildings of the games.

‘They are foreign objects in Russia,’ she said. ‘The only thing that connects Russia to these objects is taxpayers’ money, which has been stolen and has been used to build these Olympic objects.’

Alekhina called on President Barack Obama to increase pressure on Russia over alleged human rights abuses, and said she and Tolokonnikova are handing over a petition to Putin to help ‘end this bullshit.’

‘Aren’t you sick of it all, Putin?’ Tolokonnikova asked.

International response to prior calls to boycott the games has garnered some largely symbolic gestures. Obama included three openly gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics in a rebuke of Putin’s anti-gay laws. And Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie said he is taking his male spouse to the opening ceremony. But twelve peaceful protesters remain incarcerated after police arrested them at the anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow two years ago, the pair from Pussy Riot said.

Now that the band is an icon for the struggle against human rights abuses in Putin’s Russia, the two women said it will also act for the rights of prisoners in the United States.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said they plan to visit prisons and meet with nonprofit organizations to learn about the issue of solitary confinement in the U.S. ‘We’re very interested in the fact of how NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) in the U.S. work and collaborate with penitentiary institutions,’ Alekhina said. ‘One of our main goals is to exchange experience.’

‘Pussy Riot inspired a new generation of activists around the world, Samir Goswami, managing director of the Amnesty International USA program Individuals and Communities at Risk said, adding that their supporters followed in the footsteps of those who helped Amnesty International obtain the release of some 44,000 prisoners since its international inception in 1961.

‘Pussy Riot were street performers,’ he said. At the subway, on the streets, they would call on people to take their rights seriously. ‘There are street performers in the U.S. whom we pass every day, but we don’t realize that they can help elevate human rights to the global conversation.’

‘They found a lot of support from folks in the U.S., especially from Russia’s diaspora community in Brooklyn, who called passionately for their release,’ Goswami said. ‘But they’re also learning about the prison conditions in the U.S. and plan on doing some research here.’

Kremlin Suspends Questioned Reform of Wildlife Reserves. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to amend recent environmental legislation that critics said could allow for real estate development in Russia’s protected territories. A law passed in December allows for the downgrading of any of the 102 Russian wildlife reserves to natural parks, where construction is permitted under certain conditions.

The law, which passed quickly through parliament, caused outcry from eco-activists, who said it could be exploited to build commercial real estate in wildlife reserves.

Krasnodar is a city located in the Southern Russia based on the Kuban River situated 80 kilometers away to the North East of the Black sea port. The prevailing political stability and the numerous administrative efforts taken by the regional administration has made the Krasnodar region one of the most favorable investment destinations in Russia.

More than 60 countries have investment cooperation in this region and 773 companies having foreign capital are already part of the regions economy. Majority of the FDI coming in this region is mainly concentrated on food industries, woodworking and fuel.

To finance venues and apartments in the Caucasus Mountains and along Sochi’s coast, state-owned Vnesheconombank, known as VEB, lent $7.4 billion to a who’s who of Russia’s elite. Among the biggest loan recipients are companies controlled byVladimir Potanin, chief executive of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel producer. Joining him are Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of United Co. Rusal, the No. 1 aluminum company; Alexey Miller, chief of state-controlled gas provider OAO Gazprom; and German Gref, chief of state-controlled OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.


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Condannate e premiate: alle Pussy Riot il Premio per la Pace, sarà consegnato da Yoko Ono

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alle Pussy Riot, ovvero le giovani musiciste punk russe condannate in patria, ad agosto, per ‘incitamento all’odio religioso’, arriva addirittura un ‘Premio per la Pace’.

Ad assegnarglielo Yoko Ono in persona, la vedova di John Lennon. Il premio ‘LennonOno’, che la vedova dell’ex Beatles ideò nel 2002 in memoria dell’attivismo del marito, sarà consegnato domani durante una cerimonia a New York a Pyotr Verzilov, consorte di Nadia Tolokonnikova, una delle tre Pussy Riot che ancora si trovano agli arresti. La notizia arriva direttamente da Amnesty International.

Il premio è  biennale e sarà assegnato anche ad altre 4 persone, tra le quali Rachel Corrie, pacifista americana che nel 2003 fu travolta e uccisa da un bulldozer israeliano a Rafah, nel corso di una manifestazione.

La cerimonia a New York si terrà a dieci giorni dal processo d’appello, che inizierà l’1 ottobre a Mosca. Le tre ragazze sono state condannate a due anni di carcere per una ‘preghiera anti-Putin‘.

‘Ringrazio le Pussy Riot per la loro azione che porterà la libertà di espressione a tutte le donne’, ha detto in un comunicato Yoko Ono.

10×100 anni di carcere G8 Genova 2001 non è finita: Blob e la campagna pro cassazione Diaz

 La Procura generale della Cassazione chiede che vengano confermate le assoluzioni per 13 no global appartenenti al gruppo ‘Sud ribelle’ per una serie di attività tutte riferite al G8 di Genova e al Global forum di Napoli del 2001.

In particolare, il sostituto procuratore generale Nicola Lettieri ha sollecitato ai giudici della quinta sezione penale il rigetto del ricorso della Procura di Catanzaro contro l’assoluzione accordata ai 13 imputati tra i quali Francesco Caruso e Luca Casarini dalla Corte d’Assise d’Appello di Catanzaro il 20 luglio 2010.

La Procura di Catanzaro, in Cassazione, contesta un’anomalia processuale che si sarebbe verificata con il cambio del presidente di udienza e il conseguente trasferimento del processo ad altra sezione.

Se venissero accolte le sue censure, il processo ripartirebbe da zero ma la Procura della Cassazione ritiene che la vicenda si debba chiudere con le 13 assoluzioni nei confronti di altrettanti no global accusati pesantemente di vari reati tra i quali l’associazione sovversiva, l’attentato ad organi costituzionali e l’associazione per delinquere.

L’appello alla società civile e al mondo della cultura

La gestione dell’ordine pubblico nei giorni del G8 genovese del luglio del 2001, rappresenta una ferita ancora oggi aperta nella storia recente della repubblica italiana.

Dieci anni dopo l’omicidio di Carlo Giuliani, la ‘macelleria messicana’ avvenuta nella scuola Diaz, le torture nella caserma di Bolzaneto e dalle violenze e dai pestaggi nelle strade genovesi, non solo non sono stati individuati i responsabili, ma chi gestì l’ordine pubblico a Genova ha condotto una brillante carriera, come Gianni De Gennaro, da poco nominato Sottosegretario alla Presidenza del Consiglio.

Mentre lo Stato assolve se stesso da quella che Amnesty International ha definito ‘la più grande sospensione dei diritti democratici in un paese occidentale dopo la seconda guerra mondiale’,  il prossimo 13 luglio dieci persone rischiano di diventare i capri espiatori e vedersi confermare, in Cassazione, una condanna a cento anni di carcere complessivi, in nome di un reato, ‘devastazione e saccheggio’, che rappresenta uno dei tanti detriti giuridici, figli del codice penale fascista, il cosiddetto Codice Rocco.

Un reato concepito nel chiaro intento, tutto politico, di perseguire chi si opponeva al regime fascista. Oggi viene utilizzato ipotizzando una ‘compartecipazione psichica’, anche quando non sussiste associazione vera e propria tra le persone imputate. In  questo modo si lascia alla completa discrezionalità politica degli inquirenti e dei giudici il compito di decidere se applicarlo o meno.

E’ inaccettabile che, a ottant’anni di distanza, questa aberrazione giuridica rimanga nel nostro ordinamento e venga usata per condannare eventi di piazza così importanti, che hanno coinvolto centinaia di migliaia di persone, come le mobilitazioni contro il G8 a Genova nel 2001.

Non possiamo permettere che dopo dieci anni Genova finisca così, per questo facciamo appello al mondo della cultura, dello spettacolo, ai cittadini e alla società civile a far sentire la propria voce firmando questo appello che chiede l’annullamento della condanna per devastazione e saccheggio per tutti gli imputati e le imputate.

Per una battaglia che riguarda la libertà di tutte e tutti.

In occasione della cassazione per la Diaz, blob lancia la campagna 10×100


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