U.S. Supreme Court Fails to Ensure Free Speech Protections for U.S. NGO Foreign Partners, Says Leading Jewish Global Human Rights Group

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) opposes the harms of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath

Today, as the United States Supreme Court released its opinion on the case, Alliance for Open Society International vs. United States Agency for International Development, Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy at American Jewish World Service, released the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed today by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, which perpetuates stigma and discrimination against sex workers around the globe, further endangering their rights in the middle of a global pandemic.

“This decision holds that foreign aid groups connected to U.S. nongovernmental organizations do not have rights to free speech; thus they are bound by the U.S. anti-prostitution loyalty oath (APLO). This harmful provision requires all recipients of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding to have a policy that explicitly opposes prostitution. By mandating that organizations must take a stance opposing the rights of sex workers, the APLO prevents sex workers from receiving access to safe, non-discriminatory services—a violation of their rights and a failure for U.S. global health goals. This ultimately undermines the very aims of PEPFAR and U.S. foreign assistance.

“As a faith-based organization that recognizes the inherent dignity of all people, we are dedicated to ensuring that sex workers are able to access safe, non-discriminatory, and rights-affirming services. We denounce the current U.S. policies that erode health care for marginalized communities across the globe, and we will continue to fight to make positive changes for access to these rights within the U.S. Congress and the Administration. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities like sex workers, we know that this support is even more critical.”

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

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