Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    November 13, 2018

    Canadian and international media are reporting on the ongoing practice of coerced of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.

    What is forced sterilization and coerced sterilization?

    Forced sterilization is when a person is sterilized (via tubal ligation) without their knowledge or informed consent.

    August 03, 2018

    By Tamara Moussa Beirut, Lebanon.

    On December 10, 2017, Iraq declared its victory over the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), which had been attempting to establish a so-called Islamic Caliphate in the country since late June 2014. In what we can begin to call post-IS Iraq, thousands upon thousands of civilians bear scars from crimes the armed group committed against them and their loved ones. The legacy of these crimes is likely to affect, not only the survivors, but generations to come.

    IS wreaked havoc on the civilian population in Iraq, at times brutally targeting ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq. Four years on, Yezidi women and girls are left with harrowing physical and psychological trauma as a result of horrifying sexual violence and enslavement by the armed group, even as they continue to live with the angst of not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their relatives who went missing as a result of IS actions.

    July 19, 2018

    Human rights defenders have advocated long and hard for law and policies which protect sexual and reproductive rights, including safe and legal abortion services. This work is often slow, challenging, and full of setbacks, which is why every victory is so thoroughly celebrated!

     

    June 05, 2018

    By Emma Jayne Geraghty

    Emma Jayne Geraghty works for Amnesty International Canada in Toronto. She was one of thousands of Irish ex-pats who traveled home to Ireland to vote in the historic referendum on whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution, which bans abortion. On May 25th Ireland voted overwhelmingly to repeal the eighth amendment, paving the way for safe and legal abortion services in Ireland. Learn more>>

    May 22, 2018

    Ahead of Ireland's historic referendum on abortion, the #hometovote hashtag has unleashed a wave of solidarity and inspired Irish voters from Nairobi to Toronto to return home and campaign for a woman's right to decide. 

    When the Irish government finally announced there would be a referendum on repealing its near-total ban on abortion, Ause Abdelhaq, a young Irish expat living in Nairobi, Kenya, was thrilled. 

    No one under the age of 53 has had the chance to vote to make abortion more accessible in Ireland. The significance of what is being billed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity was clearly not lost on young Irish voters like Ause.     

    “I'm pretty sure most of East Africa knows how much it means to me at this point, because I went around yelling at everyone "Look at what my little island is doing it's going to be great!",” says Ause, who, like many Irish graduates of his generation, chose to travel abroad to seek work and life experience.

    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.

    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.

    March 17, 2016
    St Patrick’s Day is when we celebrate all that is great about Ireland – we can now add the Irish public’s support for wider access to abortion.

    Today, people all over the world are marking St Patrick’s Day and honouring what it means to be Irish. The Eiffel Tower is glowing green in France and in the USA, President Obama is hosting the Irish Prime Minister at the White House’s annual celebration.

    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 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.

    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 20, 2015

    Open letter from Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, to the President of the Republic of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes

    Mr. President,

    Amnesty International, a worldwide movement that campaigns for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all, is deeply concerned about the situation of a 10-year-old girl reportedly raped by her stepfather and pregnant as a result. The pregnancy was detected three weeks ago and yet the state continues to violate her human rights without offering her the possibility of an abortion.

    To allow this girl who is just 10 years old to continue with her pregnancy is clearly cruel. Mr. President, the future of this girl is in your hands.

    May 15, 2015

    By Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director Americas Program Amnesty International.

    Every now and then there comes along a case that seems too tragic to comprehend -- where cruelty from one individual to another is compounded and amplified by a callous governmental response. That is how I feel about the case of a 10-year-old pregnant girl, who was raped by her step-father, only to find the Paraguayan authorities are denying her the option of an abortion.

    It is a story that has attracted attention from all over the world, with many shocked that a young child could be treated in such a way by her own government, which is supposed to protect her.

    According to the World Health Organization child pregnancies are extremely dangerous for the health of young girls as they can lead to complications and death in some cases, especially as their bodies are “not fully developed to carry a pregnancy.” This 10 year old girl is facing a great risk to her life and physical and psychological health, both in the short, medium and long term.

    April 08, 2015

    by Kristin Hulaas Sunde, editor of Wire magazine for @AmnestyOnline

    Amnesty activists took action for Chelsea Manning an incredible 241,289 times – including by sending her over 17,000 letters and cards – during our global Write for Rights campaign last December.

    In return, the former army intelligence analyst sent us this message of thanks from her prison cell in Kansas, USA, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks.

    Chelsea’s letter to Amnesty's activists worldwide:

    I wanted to thank all of you so very much for your actions of support and solidarity. I understand that over 200,000 actions were taken - that’s absolutely incredible!

    I am also so grateful for all the heartfelt support from the tens of thousands of people out there who took the time to write to me and the President [Barack Obama, asking him to pardon and release her].

    Pages