ICJ call for submissions on the use of criminal law and sexuality, reproduction, drug use and HIV

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Update February 2019: the call for submissions has been extended until 31st March - details of the call can be found on the ICJ website in English, French, Russian and Spanish

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has released a call for submissions on the use and misuse of criminal law in the areas of sexuality, reproduction, drug use and HIV.

In 2016 the UN Secretary General called for the removal of punitive laws, policies and practices that violate human rights, stating that the misuse of criminal law often negatively impacts on health and human rights, particularly in areas of sexuality, reproduction, sex work, drug use and HIV. The ICJ is seeking submissions for the development of principles to address the detrimental impact of criminalisation on health and human rights. This includes criminalisation of abortion, consensual sexual conduct including sex work, sex outside of marriage, and same-sex relations, drug use or the possession of drugs for personal use, and the criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

The ICJ, in collaboration with UNAIDS, OHCHR, UNDP and WHO, is calling for written submissions as the first step in a broad consultation to develop these principles. The call is aimed primarily at key stakeholders within civil society, including nongovernmental organisations working on criminal law and human rights, community-based organisations, as well as think tanks, academic experts, and representatives of affected communities. 

They are seeking input on a range of issues including the effect of such criminal laws, when and how criminal law should be used, what reforms are needed and what role criminal law should play in the relevant areas. Questions include:

  • What effect do you think criminalising such conduct can have on the persons whose conduct is criminalised?
  • Has criminal law impacted you or your community? If so, how?
  • What do you think these criminal laws are aiming to achieve (what are the goals of criminalising such conduct?) 

To submit to the consultation, please submit your response in writing to the ICJ by 31st March 2019. The limit for submissions is 5 pages. Send your submissions, as well as any questions or clarifications, to decrimconsultation@icj.org

You can download the call for submissions and background documents below. They are available in English, French, Russian and Spanish. 

Download this resource