This report, commissioned by the Human Dignity Trust on behalf of the Equality & Justice Alliance, lays out criteria for good practice human rights compliant laws across four areas of sexual offences legislation, namely rape/sexual assault, age of consent for sexual conduct, treatment of consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults, and sexual offences in relation to people with disability. The purpose of this report is to inform, inspire and aid reform of discriminatory and harmful laws on sexual offences in member states of the Commonwealth. The study will assist Commonwealth countries that are seeking to reform their sexual offences laws by providing models of ‘good practice’ laws from other Commonwealth countries across all regions of the world.
This case study provides an in depth analysis of the significant leap forward taken by Palau in protecting the rights of its citizens, through the updating of its sexual offences laws and criminal code. Significant changes to the country’s sexual offences laws and domestic violence framework were achieved by the enactment of the Family Protection Act in 2012 and through the overhaul of the criminal law in 2014. These changes to domestic legal frameworks have improved protection for women, children, LGBT people and other vulnerable people.
This report examines how the 2014 reform of the criminal code in Northern Cyprus was successfully achieved, decriminalising same-sex activity. This report explores the vividly the important role civil society played in achieving not just legal and policy changes, but also social transformation. The work of domestic civil society groups, supported by international NGOs, was instrumental in raising awareness of the previously archaic and discriminatory provisions of the 1959 Criminal Code and advocating for change. Through intersectional collaboration and a multi-pronged strategy, applied significant political pressure in favour of reform.
This report provides a step-by-step analysis of how reform of sexual offences law in Belize was achieved. Since the 1990s, Belize has undertaken a concerted effort to reform its sexual offences laws. This has been achieved through a combination of changes to legislation and policy via the legislature, and public interest litigation via the courts. The case study reflects on how those two processes – legislative reform on the one hand, and public interest litigation on the other – although unconnected, nonetheless mutually reinforced each other as frameworks for reform. Ultimately, the Belize example demonstrates that parallel action can be a strong model for achieving progressive legal and social change, and eliminating discrimination.
This report examines how the reform of Mozambique's sexual offences laws was successfully achieved. Enacted in 2015, Mozambique's reform of its criminal code, including its sexual offences provisions, has created greater protection from violence and discrimination for women, children and LGBT people, among others. This report provides a step-by-step analysis of how reform was achieved, illustrating that reform is possible despite the existence of contentious and politically challenging issues, when political will, diverse champions and a mix of domestic and international support are present.
This report provides a step-by-step analysis of how reform of sexual offences in Seychelles was achieved. It finds that decriminalisation in Seychelles was the result of a combination of factors, including genuine political will. A conducive social environment created through the hard work of local LGBT and human rights organisations, with the support of the legal profession and aided by international dialogue and favourable media coverage, was also crucial in bringing about the long overdue change. Importantly, the report concludes that constructive dialogue with faith leaders, in what is a deeply religious society, was also key to bringing about reform.