Submission to "Inquiry into the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 – Exposure Draft Legislation"

"We are very concerned that the Exposure Draft misses the opportunity to create alignment across different areas of Government policy and approach. Most disappointing, is the failure of the Bill to extend anti-discrimination protection to sex workers as a priority population identified in the Australian Government National HIV and STI Strategies, for whom discrimination creates an unnecessary vulnerability. A human rights approach, as referred to in the National HIV Strategy, recognises the need to specifically provide this type of legal protection to sex workers.
Countless global and regional reports recommend anti-discrimination protection for priority populations as critical to a countries HIV response. The 2012 UN agencies Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific Report refers to extensive and consistent calls for countries to provide this protection including the 2006 International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, that recommends enactment of anti-discrimination laws along with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP) Resolution 66-10 (2010), that calls on Member States to ground universal access in human rights and to address legal barriers to HIV responses, and Resolution 67-9 (2011), which requires states to initiate reviews of national laws, policies and practices to enable the full achievement of universal access targets with a view to eliminating all forms of discrimination against key affected populations."