September 13, 2007

Sex offender laws harmful, human rights group warns

In a landmark study released yesterday, the largest human rights organization in the United States is calling for a dramatic reversal of sex offender policies.

Cataloging the far-reaching damage being done under the guise of protecting children, the 146-page report by Human Rights Watch urges an end to residency restrictions, online registries, and the registration of juveniles. Registration in general should be limited to those convicted of serious offenses who represent a demonstrated danger.

"Politicians didn't do their homework before enacting these laws," said Sarah Tofte, one of the researchers involved in the large-scale investigation. "Instead they have perpetuated myths about sex offenders and failed to deal with the complex realities of sexual violence against children."

It takes courage to publicly stand up for the rights of society's most demonized members. Human Rights Watch should be applauded for stepping forward.

"No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States" is a well-researched and thoughtful analysis. So, put on your reading glasses and turn on your printer. Then pass it along to everyone you know who is concerned about human rights.