The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recently released a report entitled “The 8 March Principles for a Human Rights-Based Approach to Criminal Law Proscribing Conduct Associated with Sex, Reproduction, Drug Use, HIV, Homelessness and Poverty”. The report provides legal guidance on issues related to sex, including those involving children under 18. The report has sparked concern among many. It suggests that sexual conduct involving persons below the minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual. If not in law, without discussing what the age of consent should be.
Report’s Recommendations On Age Of Consent Misinterpreted
The report further advises lawyers, judges, and law enforcement to consider the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age. This is pertaining to making decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct. It highlights their right to be heard in matters concerning them when enforcing laws about sex with minors.
This approach has led some to criticise the report for calling for the decriminalisation of sex between adults and minors. They argue that minors cannot truly consent to sex with an adult. This will make it impossible to decriminalise such behaviour.
However, the report portrays the matter as an issue of rights and acceptance. The forward to the report was written by a “proudly gay” lawyer, Edwin Cameron of South Africa. He argued that laws about sex can make people feel ostracised. It is because of their sexual behaviour. He further stated that criminal laws can compel hostility, exclusion, inequality, discrimination, and marginalisation of individuals and groups. This also leads sometimes to the point of violence. As a result, human rights, democratic values, and social inclusiveness all suffer.
While the report focuses on the issue of rights and acceptance, it has sparked concerns among those who believe that it could lead to the normalization of pedophilia. The Live Action News writer Cassy Fiano-Chesser pointed out that the report calls for sex between adults and minors to be decriminalised, so long as the minors “consent.” However, she argued that minors cannot truly consent to sex with an adult, making the report’s suggestion problematic. Fiano-Chesser and others believe that the report’s stance on this issue could lead to the normalization of pedophilia.
Report Calls for Complete Decriminalisation of Abortion, Protection of Untrained Abortionists
Another concerning aspect of the report is its call for the complete decriminalisation of abortions. The report argues that abortion must be taken entirely out of the purview of the criminal law, including for having, aiding, assisting with, or providing an abortion. This move would protect dangerous untrained abortionists and quacks from prosecution. Additionally, the report argues that pregnant mothers should not be punished for using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. This is even if the unborn baby is harmed.
The UNAIDS report has sparked a significant amount of controversy due to its stance on a variety of issues related to sex. This includes the decriminalisation of sex between adults and minors, the complete decriminalisation of abortions, and the issue of pregnant mothers using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. The report portrays the matter as an issue of rights and acceptance. Many are concerned that it could lead to the normalisation of pedophilia and the further erosion of protections for the unborn.