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Women's Human Rights

    July 20, 2016

    July 20, 2016—As organizations and human rights experts, we are deeply concerned by the draft Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, which have been posted on media websites today.

    The TOR provide the framework for the National Inquiry and establish the authority of its Commissioners. In our view, the draft TOR risks a weak National Inquiry that lacks clear authority to delve into some of the most crucial factors in this human rights crisis. Our organizations are particularly concerned that the draft TOR provides no explicit mandate to report on, or make recommendations regarding, policing and justice system failures and inadequacies.

    July 12, 2016

    A new proposal by a group of parliamentarians from opposition party ARENA in El Salvador to increase jail terms for women accused of having an abortion to up to 50 years is scandalous, irresponsible and flies on the face of basic human rights standards, Amnesty International said.

    “Parliamentarians in El Salvador are playing a very dangerous game with the lives of millions of women. Banning life-saving abortions in all circumstances is atrocious but seeking to raise jail terms for women who seek an abortion or those who provide support is simply despicable,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of continuing to criminalize women, authorities in El Salvador must repeal the outdated anti-abortion law once and for all.”

    June 28, 2016

    Women in prison

    Women make up nearly 7% of the population in federal prisons (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad , 2016)

    The vast majority of women detained in federal prisons are first time offenders, mostly imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

    There is evidence to suggest that torture and other ill-treatment is used frequently against people accused of high-profile crimes that fall within the public security strategy of the so-called “war on drugs.” Of the 100 women interviewed by Amnesty International, 33% had been accused of being part of organized crime groups, 23% had been accused of narcotics crimes, 22% had been accused of kidnapping and 14% with illegal possession of firearms.

    The federal prison population is largely made up by people from low income backgrounds. Data on the federal prison system shows that 60% of women in prison did not complete high school. (CIDE, 2012)

    Of the cases Amnesty International documented for this report, most women earned between 1,000 and 5,000 pesos a month (approximately US$70 to US$300) with some earning much less.

    Torture against women

    June 23, 2016
    Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secetary-General, documents the Mexico Defensoras Delegation's visit to Ottawa on the eve of the Three Amigos summit. They came with an urgent message for Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama: Don't sweep Mexico's grave human rights crisis under the carpet!    The Mexico Defensoras Delegation are: Claudia Medina Tamariz- Breaking the Silence about Sexual Torture, Rompiendo el Silencio Brenda Rangel Ortiz - Justice for the Disappeared, Desaparecidos Justicia CA Marta Sanchez - Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano Pilar Arrese Alcaca - Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Centro Prodh   DAY 1
    May 27, 2016
    On 20 May 2016, Maria Teresa Rivera was finally freed from prison in El Salvador after a judge dismissed the charges against her. In 2011, she had been given a 40-year sentence after suffering a miscarriage. Thousands of people across the world rallied to her cause. This is her thank you message to everyone.  

    I want to thank everyone who supported me and who never left me alone, everyone who believed in me and always said that I was innocent even though you did not know me. This was very special to me.

    May 06, 2016

     

    Fernanda Doz Costa, researcher on the Americas, reports from a protest outside a court in Argentina where “Belen” returns after being sentenced to eight years following a miscarriage.

    It was cold and grey the morning I arrived outside the courthouse in Tucumán city, northwest Argentina. Inside the court, a judge was delivering his reasons for why a woman known as “Belén” (not her real name) had been jailed after having a miscarriage.  

    Gradually the pavement where I was began to fill with colour. We were there to protest against Belén's conviction. Around me, flags bore slogans condemning gender discrimination. "This justice system is medieval", read signs amid the unmistakable green scarves of those campaigning for the decriminalization of abortion. There was even a replica "women's prison cell".

    When there was no more space on the pavement, demonstrators demanding Belén’s release blocked the road. Meanwhile the street band helped turn the feelings of anger and helplessness that had made us join this protest into an atmosphere of energy and unity.

     

    April 25, 2016

    Early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso is robbing thousands of girls as young as 13 of their childhood, while the cost of contraception and other barriers prevent them from choosing if and when to have children, Amnesty International said in a report published today. 

    Coerced and denied: Forced marriages and barriers to contraception in Burkina Faso exposes how many women and girls are threatened or beaten when they try to make their own decisions about when to marry or have children.

    “Far too many women and girls in Burkina Faso have no control over their lives: they are denied their right to choose if, when and with whom they marry and whether to have children,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

    “Once married, girls are expected to have children as soon as possible. Early pregnancies greatly increase the risk of girls dying or experiencing life-changing physical injuries. Very few have the chance to go to school or complete their education. 

    April 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  14 April 2016

    All those abducted by Boko Haram must be released and those whose lives have been devastated by the armed group must receive support and justice, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abduction of more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls.

    Activists from the organization will join #BringBackOurGirls demonstrations in Abuja and campaigners around the world to mark the anniversary and remember all those abducted, killed and displaced by the armed group.

    “Few of us can begin to comprehend the suffering of parents who have not seen their daughters for two years,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.

    “In addition to the Chibok schoolgirls, today we also remember all those abducted, killed and displaced. Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.”

    March 15, 2016

    What do dance, apps, films, standing on a bridge, and a feminist New Year's celebration have in common?



    On International Women's Day, they were some of the many ways that Amnesty International activists across Canada celebrated achievements in the global struggle for gender equality and took actions to help create a more just and equal world.

    March 08, 2016
    Pictured above: Girls who are victims of early and forced marriage as well as early pregnancy at the FOCEB shelter admiring solidarity letters and postcards sent as part of Write for Rights 2015. Amnesty International Burkina Faso volunteers prepared the wall display for the girls, most of whom have been disowned by their families.

      Burkina Faso's Ministry of Justice, Human Rights, and Civic Promotion has affirmed the government's commitment to eradicating early and forced marriage.

    The ministry plans to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years and to ensure that forced marriage is clearly defined in Burkina Faso's criminal code.

    March 07, 2016
    March 8th is International Women’s Day and we’re taking a moment to reflect on how your support has changed women’s lives around the world in the past year.

    From policy breakthroughs to freedom for courageous women human rights defenders, here are just a few of the ways you’ve defended women’s human rights and helped break down barriers for women and girls:
     

    March 06, 2016

    The statistics tell a sobering tale. Burkina Faso has the 7th highest rate of child marriage in the world. More than half of all women were married before the age of 18 and 10% before age 15. Some girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage. Burkina Faso also has one of the world’s lowest rates ofcontraceptive use – only 17% of women. Many are denied contraception or use it in secret, out of fearof their husbands or in-laws.The end result is that by the time they are 19 years old, most girls are married, and nearly half of them are already mothers. They are raising children when they are still children themselves, in a country withone of the highest rates of maternal death in the world.

    TAKE ACTION to end early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    March 06, 2016

    Chinese women’s rights activist Su Changlan has been in prison since October 27, 2014. She was held incommunicado for months. In February 2017, the court extended the deadline for issuing its verdict for the fourth time. Meanwhile, Su Changlan continues to be held in deplorable, cramped conditions while her health deteriorates. At times she has been denied access to her family and lawyer.  Her brother and husband were arrested and detained for a month simply for advocating on her behalf. She has conducted weekly hunger strikes since November 2016 and plans to do so until a verdict is issued in her case.  

    So what is Su Changlan’s ‘crime’? “Inciting subversion” for making online posts in support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. It is believed that the charges against her are partly due to her activism on women’s rights issues. She is now paying a terrible price for her peaceful work and faces life imprisonment.

    March 05, 2016

    International Women’s Day, March 8, is a rallying point for feminists worldwide. Established by the United Nations in 1975, it is a day to celebrate women’s achievements while highlighting remaining gender inequalities. But 41 years later, is it still necessary?

    YES! Women and girls may have scaled unimaginable heights in politics, science, arts, sports and business, but gender equality is not yet a reality anywhere in the world. Here are eight reasons why International Women’s Day is still so needed.

    February 02, 2016

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeveAmnesty

    There has been considerable debate recently about the revelations that Ottawa’s Algonquin College (as well as Niagara College in Welland) has reached a lucrative deal to operate a campus in Saudi Arabia that will offer courses to men only.

    It puts a third story about Canadian connections to human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia on the public record. That unenviable statistic is, sadly, not at all surprising. Amnesty International released a briefing paper this month in which we documented a sharp deterioration in respect for human rights in Saudi Arabia over the past year, including a serious clampdown on free expression and deeply troubling findings that Saudi forces that have intervened in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen have been responsible for extensive violations, including war crimes.

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