“Given what we’ve heard from our members before we went there, I think it this is in accordance with that—no more, no less,” says Anna Lúðvíksdóttir, leader of the Icelandic chapter of Amnesty International.
She was speaking about the number of people who have quit Amnesty International Iceland after the international organization agreed this week, at its world meeting in Dublin, to push for the decriminalization of prostitution. The Icelandic chapter did not support the proposal and abstained in the vote.
Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokesperson for the Stígamót sexual abuse charity, says that people all over the Nordic countries, and further afield, are saying they will distance themselves from Amnesty International. Some 8,800 people are members of Amnesty in Iceland, with some already having left the organization yesterday.
Vísir reports that the Icelandic chapter does not plan to release any details on numbers until it has fully taken stock internally.
Anna Lúðvíksdóttir says that leaders of the Icelandic chapter asked members before setting off to Dublin and that the results were as they expected: “This is absolutely in accordance with what we expected.”
Asked whether it is disappointing that some are voicing their dissatisfaction with the decision by leaving Amnesty, Anna says: “Everyone must decide for themselves whether they feel they have a common path with the organization. Of course I find it sad that people would quit an organization which fights for human rights. We will never back off in the struggle for human rights, though this proposal was approved, of course I find it sad.”
Amnesty International hopes the decriminalization of sex work around the world would de-stigmatize sex workers and enable them to easier seek help and support in a better-regulated industry which, despite the efforts of governments and charities, appears not to be disappearing.