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Women's Human Rights

    October 24, 2017

    “The judges of the Supreme Court have a chance to put right centuries of human rights abuse. We urge them to take it” – Grainne Teggart

    Amnesty International will be an intervenor in a significant Supreme Court case that starts today challenging Northern Ireland’s abortion law.

    The case will consider whether Northern Ireland law breaches women’s rights by not allowing abortions in cases of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormalities.

    Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said:

    “We cannot continue with the intolerable situation that treats women in Northern Ireland as second-class citizens, denying them healthcare and control over their own lives.

    “For generations, politicians in Northern Ireland have failed women and failed to protect their rights. It is time for the Supreme Court to step in and do what our government has failed to do – protect the long-neglected human rights of women and girls in a part of the UK.

    “The judges of the Supreme Court have a unique chance to put right centuries of human rights abuse. We urge them to take it. The time for change is now.”

    September 26, 2017

    Responding to the Saudi Arabian government’s announcement that women will be allowed to drive, Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “It is a testament to the bravery of women activists who have been campaigning for years that the government of Saudi Arabia has finally relented and decided to permit women to drive.

    “This is a long overdue small step in the right direction and we welcome this move if it means all women in Saudi Arabia will finally be able to drive without any restrictions.

    “If by June next year women in Saudi Arabia are driving the streets without fear of arrest, then this will be a cause for celebration. But it is just one step. We also need to see a whole range of discriminatory laws and practices swept away in Saudi Arabia including the guardianship system where every woman has a male guardian, be it their father, brother, husband or son, having authority to make decisions on her behalf.

    July 27, 2017
      The rape of a teenage girl ordered by a village council in ‘revenge’ for a rape allegedly committed by her brother is the latest in a long series of horrific incidents and must lead to urgent reforms, said Amnesty International today. While 20 people from a village council near Multan have been arrested for ordering the rape, Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and abolish so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes as revenge.   “Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and crack down on the so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes against women, often in revenge for acts committed by others. For far too long, there has been an indulgence of these unspeakably cruel practices,” said Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Campaigner.
    May 23, 2017

    A set of US laws which claim to promote maternal and infant health are in fact driving pregnant women away from vital health services, jeopardizing their wellbeing and violating their right to health, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    Criminalizing Pregnancy: Policing Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs in the USA, highlights the impact of pregnancy criminalization laws, especially those which are used to arrest and prosecute women who use drugs based on a belief that they are harming their fetuses. Fear of these laws is deterring pregnant women from accessing healthcare, prenatal care and even drug treatment.

    “Across the USA, the heavy-handed policing of pregnant women’s behaviour is shattering patient trust in health services with devastating consequences. These laws put pregnant women in a double bind, forcing them to choose between risking their health and risking punishment,” said Carrie Eisert, Policy Adviser at Amnesty International, who authored the report.

    May 13, 2017

    Narges Mohammadi is one of the most prominent human rights activists in Iran. Narges has campaigned in support of women’s rights and gender equality, run an organization calling for abolishment of the death penalty, served as president of the National Council of Peace in Iran, and is vice-president of the Center for Human Rights Defenders. She is a physicist, an engineer, and an avid mountain climber. She is also a prisoner of conscience serving a 22 year sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, and she desperately needs you to write a letter to Iranian authorities calling for her immediate and unconditional release.  

    Narges is 45 years old, and she has been in and out of prison for the past 20 years solely because of her peaceful activism. Her belief in justice and equality is so strong that she has continued to publicly advocate for justice and equality despite the risks. She has given up her liberty, is separated from her family, and her health is at risk.

    April 13, 2017

    Nigerian authorities must ramp up efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and thousands of others abducted across the northeast by Boko Haram, said Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the armed group’s chilling abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls.

    “Boko Haram continues to abduct women, girls and young men who are often then subjected to horrific abuses, including rape, beatings and being forced into suicide bombing missions. Sadly, many such abductions go unnoticed and unreported by the media. This has left many parents and relatives without any hope of being reunited with their loved ones,” said Interim Country Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Makmid Kamara.

    “These appalling abductions and other attacks, some of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are carried out by Boko Haram on an almost daily basis. They must stop. Today we remember and lend solidarity to the families of the Chibok girls as well as the thousands of other women, girls and men abducted, killed or displaced by Boko Haram.”

    April 07, 2017

    Iranian journalist Hengameh Shahidi is in a critical condition in Tehran’s Evin prison. She has been on hunger strike in protest at her arrest on 9 March. She has a heart condition and is refusing her medication. She is being held in solitary confinement and has been denied access to a lawyer.

     

    The health of journalist and political activist Hengameh Shahidi, aged 41, has seriously deteriorated since she went on hunger strike on 9 March 2017 in protest at her arbitrary arrest the same day. She has a pre-existing heart condition, for which she was previously hospitalized, and needs ongoing medical care, including medication. Her heart condition is exacerbated when she is under stress. At the beginning of April, she stopped taking her medication and is also refusing intravenous fluids.

    March 14, 2017

    Following today’s ruling by the Court of Justice the European Union that two employers did not break EU anti-discrimination law when they dismissed two women from their respective jobs in France and Belgium for wearing headscarves, John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia programme said:

    "Today's disappointing rulings by the European Court of Justice give greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women - and men - on the grounds of religious belief. At a time when identity and appearance has become a political battleground, people need more protection against prejudice, not less."

    "The court did say that employers are not at liberty to pander to the prejudices of their clients. But by ruling that company policies can prohibit religious symbols on the grounds of neutrality, they have opened a backdoor to precisely such prejudice. It is now for national governments to step up and protect the rights of their citizens.”

    Background

    March 08, 2017

    By Tarah Demant, Senior Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit, Amnesty International USA

    It’s hard to keep track of the various assaults on human rights coming out of the Trump administration. It’s particularly dizzying for women’s rights defenders — because make no mistake, these assaults are all part of a broader attack on women’s rights by President Donald Trump and his administration.

    March 02, 2017

    On March 8, six Ottawa-area feminist leaders will be recognized with Femmy Awards for their tireless work advancing women’s human rights and gender equality at an International Women’s Day event in Ottawa. The theme of this year’s event and Femmy Awards ceremony is “The Future is Feminist.”

    Since 2009, local feminists have celebrated International Women’s Day with a fun-filled event, including presentation of the Femmy Awards, organized by a coalition of organizations and individual volunteers engaged in women’s rights including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Amnesty International Canada, Canadian Federation of University Women, CUSO International, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Inter Pares, OCTEVAW, Oxfam Canada, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, and Women’s Shelters Canada.

    January 11, 2017

    On Saturday, January 21, the day after the US presidential inauguration, Amnesty International supporters will be amongst the hundreds of thousands of people marching in Washington, DC in support of women’s rights. Not able to travel to Washington, DC? Join one of the solidarity marches taking place across Canada.

    January 07, 2017

    Released 8 January 2017 00.01GMT

    One thousand days after the chilling abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, the Nigerian government must redouble its efforts to ensure the release of the girls, and all other victims of mass abduction, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on Boko Haram to put an end to the girls’ suffering and immediately release them and all other civilians they are currently holding.

    “This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals – many of whom are also children – who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country. These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop,” said Makmid Kamara, Acting Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria. 

    November 24, 2016

    By Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Annually since 1991, women’s rights activists from around the world have joined together to take action as part of the 16 Days of Activism to end Gender-based Violence campaign. Women and girls continue to experience violence directed at them because of their gender. Indigenous women and girls experience higher rates of violence than any other group of women and girls in Canada. The federal government has launched a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This is a laudable effort and one that Indigenous womens’ organizations, Amnesty International and many others long called for, but action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls must not be delayed until the Inquiry finishes its work two years from now.

    November 17, 2016

    The release from prison of three women who were subjected to rape and other forms of tortured in 2011 by marines to force them to “confess” to crimes brings a glimmer of hope to hundreds of others who are held behind bars unfairly across Mexico, said Amnesty International.

    Denise Lovato, Korina Urtrera and Wendy Díaz each spent more than five years in prison. They walked out of jail in the State of Morelos this morning after a judged acquitted them and ordered their immediate release.

    “Denise, Korina and Wendy should have never been imprisoned in the first place. Their harrowing stories show the tragic state of human rights in Mexico, where security forces routinely sexually abuse women to secure ‘confessions’ in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The stories of Denise, Korina and Wendy are featured in a recent groundbreaking Amnesty International investigation into the use of torture and other sexual violence against women in Mexico. 

    October 25, 2016

    Joint Statement by Canadian Civil Society Organizations

    Today Canada’s record of women’s equality is under the spotlight at the United Nations in Geneva. The 65th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women happens at an opportune moment for Canadian women. Canada has a new federal government with a Prime Minister who says he is a feminist, calls for a nation-to-nation relationship, and acknowledges that “poverty is sexist”.  We know words matter, but now we need action.

    Decades of regressive legislative changes and budget cuts have substantially eroded women’s rights under the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) in Canada. Since 1995, Canada has fallen from 1st to 25th place on the UN Gender Equality Index.

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