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Women's Human Rights

    May 07, 2013

    “We ask for a reform of all sections of the law that are detrimental to women's rights, such as the ones that favour the honour of the family at the expense of women’s dignity.” Khadua Ryadi, President of the Moroccan Assoc of Human Rights

    In March 2012, 16-year-old Amina Filali swallowed rat poison and killed herself after being forced to marry the man she said had raped her. Amina’s tragic story is not uncommon in Morocco: the law explicitly allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victim.

    The public outcry around Amina’s death led prompted initiatives to amend the law. On January 8, 2014, Morocco’s Lower House Justice, Legislation and Human Rights Commission adopted a proposal to remove paragraph 2 of Article 475 of the Penal Code, which allows a rapist to escape prosecution by marrying his victim if she is aged under 18. A crucial vote in the Moroccan Parliament is scheduled for January 22, 2014.

    Genuine progress towards ending violence and discrimination against women in Morocco requires widespread reform of both long held attitudes and legislation.

    May 03, 2013

    The Nicaraguan authorities should support a landmark law that defines crimes of violence against women and guarantee its full implementation, Amnesty International said today.

    Law 779 (Ley Integral contra la Violencia hacia la Mujer, Integral Law against Violence against Women) provides a route for women to access justice and protection from violence and to hold perpetrators to account.

    However, since it was passed last year the law has been consistently threatened by opponents who assert it is anti-family and anti-men, and that it is responsible for breaking up families.

    “The violence perpetrated against women and children is what breaks up families, not legislation designed to help victims escape from violence and hold abusers to account,” said Esther Major, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Nicaragua.

    “If the Nicaraguan authorities are serious about preventing violence from breaking up families, then Law 779 should be fully supported, resourced and implemented. Attempts to undermine the implementation of this law must be stopped.”

    April 05, 2013

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea must take urgent action to prevent and punish ‘sorcery’-related violence, following reports six women and a man were abducted and subjected to acts of appalling cruelty by a  group who accused them of witchcraft.

    Komape Lap from the Southern Highlands claims he and six women had their hands tied, were stripped naked and had hot iron rods pushed into their genitals. Komape Lap escaped but the fate of the six women is unknown.

    The attack is reported to have taken place on 28 March in an Easter ‘witch-hunt’, according to local media. The police have confirmed they are investigating the incident.

    “The priority must be to find out the fate of the six women. The perpetrators must also be brought to justice for the abduction and crimes of sexual and other violence, if confirmed”, said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International's Pacific researcher.

    "The government must take urgent action to prevent any further ‘sorcery’-related violence and must also provide the survivors with support and full access to health and other services” said Kate Schuetze.

    March 16, 2013

    Women’s rights took small steps forward yesterday when governments at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) committed to a series of measures to tackle gender-based violence, this year’s priority theme.

    The Commission’s outcome document calls on governments to take a broad range of measures to tackle violence against women and girls around the world, including those experiencing domestic violence or facing conflict and post-conflict situations.

    The session’s agreed conclusions call on States to ensure that women’s human rights, including their reproductive rights, are protected and fulfilled. States must grant access to sexual and reproductive health services, and the Commission, for the first time, called for access to emergency contraception. Governments must also develop and implement comprehensive evidence-based education for human sexuality for all adolescents and youth.

    The agreed conclusions also importantly contained a reference to the support and protection of women human rights defenders.

    March 01, 2013

    In March 2012, Moroccan 16-year-old Amina Filali swallowed rat poison and killed herself, after being forced to marry the man she said had raped her.

    Amina’s tragic story was not uncommon in Morocco, where Article 475 of the Penal Code has allowed rapists to escape prosecution if they marry the victim.

    But Amina’s tragic end struck a cord in Moroccan society and the ensuing public outcry prompted the authorities to propose a change to the outrageous article in January 2013.

    Human rights organizations including Amnesty International applauded the move but warned that many other articles of the Penal Code needed to be modified if women and girls were to be protected from violence and discrimination.

    “Decency” offences
    Among the provisions of the Moroccan Penal Code challenged by human rights organizations is Article 486.

    Under the section dealing with “decency” offences it defines rape as the act by which “a man has sexual relations with a woman against her will”, and is punishable by five to 10 years’ imprisonment.

    February 06, 2013

    Letting perpetrators in Egypt get away with sexual harassment and assault has fuelled violent attacks against women in the vicinity of Tahrir Square in recent months - continued impunity will only lead to further crimes, Amnesty International warned today in a new briefing.

    Based on the accounts of survivors and activists gathered by Amnesty International, mob-led sexual assaults follow a clear pattern.

    Women are attacked alone or separated from friends by a group of men that quickly escalates in number; the survivors are dragged inside the mob as hands and sometimes weapons violate their bodies and the men attempt to remove their clothes.

    “Horrific, violent attacks on women including rape in the vicinity of Tahrir Square demonstrate that it’s now crucial President Morsi takes drastic steps to end this culture of impunity and gender-based discrimination, and for all political leaders to speak out,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    January 08, 2013

    A group of women protesters detained by the Saudi Arabian authorities must be released unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable crime, Amnesty International said today.

    At least 11 women are still believed to be in detention in the central city of Buraida as well as in the capital Riyadh after being held at a protest in Buraida on 5 January.

    In all, security forces arrested some 18 women and 10 children who had gathered outside Buraida’s Board of Grievances building to protest at the continued detention of relatives in connection with the Saudi Arabian authorities’ counter-terrorism efforts.

    “According to reports and photos from the protest, these women and children merely gathered peacefully and held placards bearing their detained relatives’ names and the length of their detention,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “There is no way the Saudi Arabian authorities can justify detaining people if they have simply peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

    January 08, 2013

    The charges of “fornication” against a 15-year old girl in Maldives, who there is strong reason to believe was raped by her step-father, is outrageous, Amnesty International said.

    The girl and her step-father were first arrested after the body of a baby she had given birth to was found buried outside their house on Feydhoo island in Maldives in June 2012.

    The step-father, who had reportedly sexually abused his daughter for years, has been charged with sexually abusing a minor, possessing pornography, and murder, while her mother has been charged with concealing a crime and murder.

    The 15-year old girl has reportedly been charged with ”fornication”, though the Maldivian authorities have refused to confirm the details of the case and whether it is related to the rape by her step-father.

    “This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counselling and support – not charged with a crime,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.

    December 17, 2012

    The final report of the British Columbia Missing Women Inquiry will be released today, December 17th. Amnesty International continues to stand in solidarity with all the families whose sisters and daughters were murdered or who remain missing.

    Today, we are joining a coalition of more than 25 Indigenous peoples' organizations, women's groups and frontline service providers to issue a joint statement of support for the families, to be released after the Inquiry report is made public.

    The report itself is estimated to be about 1500 pages long. We will join with partners and allies to respond to the report itself once we have had more time to review the content in depth.

    We are continuing to call for a comprehensive and coordinated response to violence experienced by Indigenous women across Canada.

    December 06, 2012

     On the National Day of Remembrance and Action, a coalition of  women’s groups, shelters and labour organizations is urging the federal government to take concerted action to end violence against women in Canada. Reminding the government that its 2011 Throne Speech promised to address violence against women and girls, the December 6 Coalition called for a comprehensive National Action Plan to end violence against women in Canada and a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Internationally, Canada should commit to playing a lead role at the 2013 UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) and work for an agreement that builds upon and strengthens existing rights for women, and holds governments accountable for their progress toward eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls. Last year’s sitting of the UNCSW failed to reach an agreement.

    November 30, 2012

    A draft constitution approved by Egypt’s Constituent Assembly falls well short of protecting human rights and, in particular, ignores the rights of women, restricts freedom of expression in the name of protecting religion, and allows for the military trial of civilians, Amnesty International said.

    “This document, and the manner in which it has been adopted, will come as an enormous disappointment to many of the Egyptians who took to the streets to oust Hosni Mubarak and demand their rights,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    Freedom of religion is limited to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, potentially excluding the right to worship to other religious minorities such as Baha’is and Shi’a Muslims.

    The constitution fails to provide for the supremacy of international law over national law, raising concerns about Egypt’s commitment to human rights treaties to which it is a state party.

    The investigation into the gunning down of three Kurdish women activists in Paris must be prompt and thorough, Amnesty International said.

    Sakine Cansýz, a founder of the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Fidan Dogan and Leyla Söylemez were found shot dead at the “Kurdistan Information Office” on the evening of 9 January.

    “There must be justice for these apparently political killings – no stone must be left unturned in the investigation by the French authorities,” said John Dalhuisen,Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

    “The Turkish authorities must cooperate fully in the investigation to bring those responsible to justice.”

    The killings come at time when the Government of Turkey and the PKK have begun peace negotiations.

    “Both sides must ensure that the killings do not derail negotiations aimed at ending the decades long conflict and ongoing human rights abuses,” said Dalhuisen.

    South Sudanese Women Speak Peace: Presentations, MP Panel and Discussion

    Featuring women peacebuilders Agnes Wasuk Petia and Awak Deng and MP Panel with Hélène Laverdière, MP, and others TBC

    Moderated by Jennifer Henry, KAIROS Executive Director

    Thursday, December 7, 2017, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm

    Desmarais Building, Room 1160, 55 Laurier, University of Ottawa

    Our special guests will highlight the critical role of grassroots organizations like the South Sudan Council of Churches in responding to violence against women in war-torn South Sudan and in building peace at the community and national level. MPs from each political party have been invited to respond in the context of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

    "One of the most powerful and urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made"
    The Herald

    On December 16, 2012, a young woman boarded a bus in Delhi heading for home. What followed changed countless lives forever. Internationally acclaimed playwright and director Yael Farber (Mies Julie) has created a searing new work that cracks open the cone of silence around women whose lives have been shattered by violence. The draw: Rave reviews and dozens of awards including the coveted Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. For ages 16+. Contains adult themes and mature content. York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.

    Nirbhaya: Performances November 3 to 14 Special Amnesty International evening November 4: ticket package $40 includes performance, post-show Q&A, and one drink – use "discount coupon" code Amnesty40.

    In the submission prepared for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran in October-November 2014, Amnesty International noted the following concerns:
     

    Executions, including of juvenile offenders, carried out in violation of international standards for fair trial. Torture and other ill-treatment in detention centres continue to be committed with impunity, Violence against women and girls, Discrimination on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, ethnic identity or religious belief. Religious and ethnic minorities. Criminalization of Adult same-sex sexual conduct. Undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, affecting in particular human rights defenders, trade unionists, women’s rights activists, journalists and student activists, Control of universities, including by limiting academic freedoms.

    Read the full report here

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