Reform Of Discriminatory Sexual Offences Laws In The Commonwealth And Other Jurisdictions – Synopsis

This synopsis draws together the lessons learned from six case studies of countries that have undertaken the reform of discriminatory sexual offences laws.

Discriminatory sexual offence laws continue to impact the lives of many Commonwealth citizens, particularly affecting women, children, and LGBT people. These laws are at odds with international and regional human rights norms and domestic constitutional law. They undermine human rights and perpetuate violence, hate crimes and discrimination, and threaten the health and prosperity of entire societies. Several countries have however, made real progress in reforming their laws through either wholesale updating of criminal codes, allowing multiple issues to be tackled together, or through targeted reforms.

With generous funding from Global Affairs Canada, and in partnership with The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Human Dignity Trust has developed a series of case studies on the ways in which a diverse range of Commonwealth and similarly situated governments around the world have achieved legislative reform of sexual offences laws in recent years. The case study series includes Palau, Belize, Northern Cyprus, Mozambique, Seychelles and Nauru.

This synopsis briefly draws together the lessons learned from each of the individual case studies and compares and contrasts the different models of change. This synopsis addresses: models of change; drivers of reform; the legislative process; post-reform environment; and, lessons learnt from the reform process.

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