Ask the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals to Reject Amnesty International

Librarian organisation CILIP (which stands for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) have got together with human rights campaigners Amnesty International to announce a major new partnership to celebrate human rights in children’s literature.

It’s going to be called the Amnesty CILIP Honour and will span both the Carnegie fiction and the Kate Greenaway picture book awards.

Beginning with the 2016 medals, a title from each of the prestigious shortlists will receive the Amnesty CILIP Honour, a thumbs up for the books that most distinctively illuminate, uphold or celebrate freedoms. The books receiving the commendation will be able to carry an Amnesty CILIP Honour logo.

The first Amnesty CILIP honour judging panel will include last year’s Carnegie medal winner, Tanya Landman whose book Buffalo Soldier dealt with issues including racism, slavery and gender discrimination.

Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker, said: “Books have a unique ability to inspire empathy, broaden horizons and empower young readers. We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”

The winners will be announced at the Medals ceremony in June 2016, look out for our gallery of the longlistees for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway when its announced early next year!

(source)

I have drafted an email/letter to send to CILIP, the judges, and the authors listed for the awards (it will need adjusting slightly for the different recipients), please feel free to adapt and use:

Dear _____,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International for the awarding of an extra honour to nominees of the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, in opposition to established international human rights treaties [1] demonstrates that they are no longer legitimate as a human rights organisation.

Amnesty International made this decision in advance of consulting their membership [2], the consultation process was rushed through without giving members time to research and respond [3], and the information given on the abolitionist approach/Nordic model (which decriminalises the prostitute her or himself, while criminalising buyers and third party sellers) was inaccurate and misleading [1].

Amnesty International defined ‘sex work’ in such a way as to exclude anyone who had been abused in the industry [4] [5], and lied about consulting prostitution survivors [1]. The first version of their ‘sex work’ policy was written by a known pimp [1] and the vice president of one of the groups Amnesty International took advice from has recently been sentenced in Mexico to 15 years for human trafficking into the sex industry [6].

Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker has said this about the CILIP award: “We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”

I would like you to consider how a ‘better world’ is compatible with the objectification and commodification of women’s bodies inherent in prostitution, and I ask you to read this critique from Taina Bien-Aimé , Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women [7]:

“What would happen if every country decriminalized prostitution? Not just the few that have already disastrously done so, but what if every government legitimized pimps and brothel owners and failed to hold men accountable for purchasing human beings for sex? Would the United Nations and its member states launch a #2050 Agenda for Investing in the Sex Trade as a Solution and Sustainable Development for Women and Girls, Especially the Most Indigent?

“What marketing slogans would ensue? Might public agencies launch poverty alleviation campaigns? “First Nations, Indigenous, Aboriginal, African-Americans and Global South Populations: Are you Poor, Young, Incested, Transgendered, Homeless? With our help, the Sex Trade will provide you with shelter, food, free condoms and the opportunity to contribute to your (or a foreign) country’s Gross National Product. No experience or education required.”

“[…] The Afrikaans term apartheid means “apart and aside” and evokes one of the most brutal regimes in modern history. By encouraging governments to enshrine the sex trade as just another potential employer, Amnesty is promoting gender apartheid, the segregation of women between those who deserve access to economic and educational opportunities and those who are condemned to prostitution. Make no mistake: as long as women are for sale, no woman will be viewed as equal in corporate boardrooms, in the halls of legislature, or in the home.”

An early, leaked draft of Amnesty International’s policy paper contained the following claim [8]: ” Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.”

Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells boys that when they grow up, they will have a ‘human right’ to purchase sex?

Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells girls, especially poor girls, that, once they turn eighteen, they will have the right to ‘choose’ prostitution?

I hope you will read my email, and the sources supplied, and re-examine CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards,
Abi

[1] https://thefeministahood.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/what-amnesty-did-wrong/

[2] https://www.byline.com/project/3/article/226

[3] https://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/qotd-amnesty-international-vote-of-no-confidence/

[4] http://glosswatch.com/2015/08/05/the-amnesty-challenge/

[5] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/09/listen-to-sex-workers-but-which-ones

[6] http://www.faber.co.uk/blog/a-human-rights-scandal-by-kat-banyard/

[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taina-bienaime/the-framing-of-gender-apa_b_8273268.html

[8] https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=YW1uZXN0eS5vcmcuYXV8YWlhLWFjdGl2aXN0LXBvcnRhbHxneDo2ZDZhNzFmOTc5YmU1Njhk

The email address for CILIP is: ckg@cilip.org.uk (also copy in mark.taylor@cilip.org.uk, and liz@riotcommunications.com and jon@riotcommunications.com, who are the publicity contacts for the prize)

They also have a postal address: 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE, UK.

Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive, can be contacted here: nick.poole@cilip.org.uk and is on twitter @NickPoole1

Dawn Finch, President of CILIP, can be contacted here: dawn.finch@cilip.org.uk and is on twitter @dawnafinch

Sioned Jacques, chair of the judging panel, can be contacted here: sioned.eleri@btinternet.com and is on twitter @sejbookworm

Tanya Landman, one of the judges, can be contacted here: tanyalandman@tantraweb.co.uk and is on twitter @tanya_landman

The Amnesty CILIP Honour is sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). They can be contacted here: alcs@alcs.co.uk

This page has a list of all the nominees for both prizes, I will update contact details in the comments section as I find them:

Sarah Crossan
Frances Hardinge
Nick Lake
Patrick Ness
Kate Saunders
Marcus Sedgwick
Robin Talley
Jenny Valentine
Anthony Browne
Ross Collins
Oliver Jeffers
Mac Barnett
Jackie Morris
Helen Oxenbury
Peter Bently
Chris Riddell
Neil Gaiman (I already know there is no point in contacting Gaiman, he’s a sex-pozzer)
Sydney Smith
JonArno Lawson

That page also tells us:

The winners for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal will be announced on Monday 20th June at a lunchtime ceremony at the British Library

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2 responses

  1. Here are a couple of examples of how I re-wrote the above for the individual recipient:

    Dear Madam, Sir,

    I am writing to you because the ALCS is sponsoring the Amnesty CILIP Honour. I would like to ask your organisation to use its power as a sponsor to question CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International for the awarding of an extra honour to nominees of the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal.

    Also:

    Dear Tanya,

    I am writing to you, as one of the judges on this year’s panel, and as the winner of last year’s Carnegie Medal, to ask you to reconsider your involvement with the Amnesty CILIP Honour.

    […]

    Do you really want your writing to be associated with a group that tells boys that when they grow up, they will have a ‘human right’ to purchase sex? Do you really want your writing to be associated with a group that tells girls, especially poor girls, that, once they turn eighteen, they will have the right to ‘choose’ prostitution?

  2. If you want to write your own email/letter, please consider emphasising how decriminalising the sex industry does not improve conditions, decrease violence, or reduce trafficking, as I did not cover these in my email (I couldn’t make it too long, if I wanted to increase the chance of it being read in full).

    Here are some suggested articles:

    Women in prostitution won’t be protected by Amnesty’s plan, Julie Bindel:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/04/sex-workers-amnesty-international-prostitution-decriminalisation

    Remembering the murdered women erased by the pro-sex work agenda:

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/11/03/remembering-the-murdered-women-erased-by-the-pro-sex-work-agenda/

    Report on the LSE study showing legalising/decriminalising the sex industry increases sex trafficking:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/legalized-prostitution-significantly-increases-human-sex-trafficking-study

    If you think decriminalisation will make prostitution safe, look at Germany’s mega brothels:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/02/if-you-think-decriminalisation-will-make-prostitution-safe-look-germanys-mega

    The death of Daria Pionko shows there is no “safe” way to manage prostitution

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2016/01/death-daria-pionko-shows-there-no-safe-way-manage-prostitution

    Another good post (along side the Feministahood one already linked above), pointing out everything that’s wrong with Amnesty’s decision:

    https://sim345.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/retired-activist-puts-case-against-amnesty-international-to-wilpf-for-human-rights-week/

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