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Women's Human Rights

    January 27, 2017

    By Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA

    A mere two days after millions of people marched around the word with and in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, President Donald J. Trump announced the “Global Gag Rule,” a major blow to women’s rights and human rights worldwide.

    Trump’s Global Gag Rule prohibits U.S. international aid to groups that so much as educate their communities on safe abortion. Even if an organization is using non-U.S. funding for such activities, they will lose their U.S. funding if they offer counseling, advocate for legal reform, provide abortions, or even provide referrals at any time.

    Foreign NGOs and clinics, many of whom depend on U.S. funding to deliver life-saving healthcare, must choose between two impossible choices: 1) take the funding they depend on but deny the services their communities need and deserve, or 2) refuse U.S. funding and struggle to keep clinics open, offer services, and advocate for laws that reduce unsafe abortions.

    January 23, 2017

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner, Amnesty Internatioanl Canada

    Amnesty yellow mingled with the Women’s March on Washington’s signature pink toques at solidarity marches from St. John's to Victoria on Saturday, January 21. Amnesty supporters were amongst the 3+ million march participants worldwide. We marched against fear, hate, and in support of love, equality and justice. We marched for women’s rights and for LGBTI rights.





    On inauguration day, many women and LGBTI people felt invisible in the president’s speech, erased from the White House’s list of policy priorities, and concerned about the potential impacts of new policies on civil liberties, the shrinking space for civil society, women’s rights, and LGBTI rights.

    July 13, 2016

    It may seem like just one letter, just one petition signature, or just one day tabling at a farmer’s market. But when every signature, every conversation, and every  action are added together we accomplish extraordinary things we transform lives. And that’s just what we did through Amnesty's Stop Torture and My Body My Rights campaigns.

    Over the past two years we campaigned for Canada to join a key torture prevention treaty, we took action to support torture survivors in Mexico as they seek justice, and we called on countries around the world to end the secrecy in detention centres which allows torture to take place. We raised awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights issues, helped secure the release of women in El Salvador imprisoned for having pregnancy-related complications, and successfully helped to change laws on early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    May 06, 2016

    Amnesty campaigner Karen Javorski takes us inside one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons to meet Teodora del Carmen Vásquez and María Teresa Rivera, women jailed after pregnancy complications.

    Teodora shares a cell with 70 other women. For María Teresa, it is 250. Cramped together like this, the women often have to sleep on the floor under the building’s hot tin roofs.

    This is Ilopango prison on the outskirts of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador. I’m here with my Amnesty colleagues, and our local partners, to visit Teodora del Carmen Vásquez and others from “Las 17”, a group of Salvadoran women who are in prison after suffering pregnancy-related complications.

    The women speak to us in an outdoor area just beyond the prison patio– the only place we are allowed to enter. The heat is intense and the mosquitos swarm, but at least we can catch the breeze outside. Inside, as Teodora and María Teresa tell us, it’s a different story: severe overcrowding, intense heat and strict rules that are both impractical and cruel. And yet you wouldn’t know it from the building’s fairly nondescript exterior.

    December 08, 2015

    Read the FAQ on Public Inquiries

     

    Today the government of Canada launched the design process for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. Amnesty International welcomes this announcement, which has been long called for by Indigenous women and girls, the families of women who have gone missing and been murdered, National Aboriginal Organizations, and human rights groups like Amnesty International. We are mindful of all the families we have worked with for so many years as part of our No More Stolen Sisters campaign--they are in our thoughts today and every day. 

    In the lead up to this announcement, many questions. What exactly is a National Inquiry? What can it accomplish? How will the voices of Indigenous women and girls and family members be heard? 

    October 29, 2015
    by Jackie Hansen, Women's Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada Amnesty International Canada was a proud member of the Up for Debate campaign to promote women's rights and gender equality in the lead up to last week’s federal election. Our goal was to make sure that all federal political party leaders explained how they would build a more equal Canada for us all, and make meaningful commitments to change the lives of women and girls for the better at home and around the world. And we succeeded!

    We shaped the debate: Our media outreach, social media engagement, and direct engagement with political parties and voters put women’s rights issues firmly on the election agenda, more than in previous election campaigns.

    October 01, 2015

    Connie Greyeyes is a grassroots activist from Fort St. John, a small community in northeastern British Columbia. She volunteers with the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society, started the Women Warriors support group for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and she is one of the founders of the Fort St. John Sisters in Spirit vigil. Connie is a member of Alberta’s Bigstone Cree First Nation.

    Amnesty International caught up with Connie as she was preparing for the Sisters in Spirit vigil scheduled for October 9 in Fort St. John. The vigil is held annually to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and to raise awareness of the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

    September 21, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada

    I had great hopes for Thursday night’s Globe and Mail’s debate on Canada’s economy. After media attention surrounding the invisibility of women’s rights and gender equality issues in the federal election debate hosted last month by Maclean’s, and the flurry of media attention shortly thereafter around the failure of all federal political party leaders to agree to participate in a nationally broadcast leader’s debate on these issues, my expectations were high. Women’s rights and gender equality issues were on the radar!

    September 16, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada

    In May 2015, Meenakshi Kumari, her 15 year old sister (whom we are not naming because she is a minor), and other family members fled their village in India’s Uttar Pradesh state after an all-male village council ordered them to be raped and paraded naked through the streets as punishment for their brother eloping with a higher-caste woman. Meenakshi took the courageous step of reporting what happened to the authorities, and her case was taken all the way to India's Supreme Court.
     

    Today, the Supreme Court of India recognized the risks to Meenakshi and her family and ordered the Delhi Police to provide the family with protection. But this isn’t over yet. The family must receive justice and reparation, and if they are unable to return to their village they must receive support to rebuild their lives in another community.

    September 14, 2015
    Amnesty International has been in the news recently for our position on how to protect the human rights of sex workers of all genders (women, men, gender non-conforming). There’s been much confusion and misinformation in the media and on social media. So we wanted to set the record straight. Amnesty International is AGAINST: Human trafficking in all its forms Any sexual exploitation of children Violence and discrimination against sex workers Amnesty International is FOR: Protecting the fundamental human rights of every person on this planet, including sex workers, without discrimination Comprehensive measures to address social and economic inequalities that deny many people choices in how they earn a living Effective programs to support individuals who wish to leave sex work Enforcement of state obligations to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, including providing support to victims Can you sum up what this is all about and what Amnesty is calling for?
    September 09, 2015

    By Gopika Bashi, Women’s Rights Researcher, Amnesty International India

    On 24 August, Amnesty International India launched a petition regarding two Dalit sisters who had been told they had been ordered to be raped and paraded naked by a khap panchayat - an unelected village council - in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh in northern India, as ‘punishment’ because their brother had eloped with a married woman from a dominant caste.

    Amnesty offices around the world circulated similar petitions, so that our supporters globally would have an opportunity to take action. Over 500,000 people have so far signed these petitions.

    Some media organizations have subsequently released reports which have questioned the petition. Some have said that members of the gram panchayat – the elected village council – and members of the dominant caste have denied the allegations. Others have claimed that Amnesty did not investigate the case.

    Unfortunately, these reports have taken the attention away from the situation of the sisters themselves, who along with their family still fear for their safety.

    August 07, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Watch this short video by Up for Debate supporters!

    My number is 0. Zero is the number of times that women’s rights and gender equality were discussed in the Maclean’s debate on August 6, the first federal leader’s debate of the 11 week election campaign.

    Zero is the number of times that ‘human rights’ were mentioned in the two-hour debate.

    The word ‘woman’ was mentioned four times—three times in reference to women and men in the military, and once as a passing reference to a particular woman.

    The debate focused on four thematic areas—the economy, environment, democracy, and foreign affairs/security. What were the missed opportunities to discuss women’s rights and gender equality? Here are some of the questions that could have been explored.

    July 22, 2015
    If you’re a girl in Burkina Faso, chances are your childhood won’t last long. Forced early marriage is common, as is early pregnancy.

    If you’re a woman, you may be denied contraception, simply because you don’t have your husband’s permission. And if you do manage to get contraception, you may be forced to use it in secret for fear of being accused of adultery by your partner or in-laws.

    If you’re a rape survivor, pregnant as a result of that assault, you must pay for your own emergency medical care – something that is out of reach for most victims.

    It’s an unsustainable situation. Burkina Faso’s girls want their childhoods back. Their mothers, aunts and sisters are fed up of being side-lined from the decisions that affect their lives. Stand with them today.

    May 27, 2015

    To mark the International Day of Action for Women’s Health on May 28, Paul Hunt, former UN expert on the right to health, tells us about one special girl who inspired his work.

    About a decade ago, I travelled to the north of Uganda, still a conflict-zone at that time. Accompanied by soldiers, we went off the beaten track to a sprawling, dusty camp for internally displaced people (IDP).

    There I met someone who symbolized the deep injustice that arises when health-rights are denied. About 14 years old, she was sitting outside her small hut where she lived with her family. Some of her limbs were huge and sharply disproportionate to the rest of her body. She was suffering from a severely disfiguring disease called lymphatic filariasis – commonly known as elephantiasis.

    She explained that she went to school but was mocked and bullied. She could not stand the abuse so she left school. This teenage girl was the victim of multiple human rights abuses: of the rights to health, education, and equality.

    May 03, 2015

    A significant gulf in average wages between women and men. A severe shortage of affordable housing and quality childcare. An economic development model that depends on fly-in workers, labour camps and long shifts away from home that strain family life. Serious problems of drug dependency and alcohol abuse affecting all communities. And persistent gaps in basic services and supports for families, especially single parents.

    One of the fastest growing economies in Canada has drawn young workers and families from across the country to live and work in Fort St. John, BC. It has also created perfect storm conditions both to fuel violence and to deny adequate protection to those at risk.

    Add to this the unresolved legacy of past violations of Indigenous peoples' rights and continued discrimination facing First Nations and Metis persons, and it's not surprising that that we have heard so many moving and indeed shocking stories of sexual assaults and other violent attacks, murders and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls.

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