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Women's Human Rights

    April 09, 2014

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

    "Our health, our bodies, our rights, our future—in your hands now” is the message that Amnesty International sent to United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon during a handover of 281,102 petition signatures in New York today.

    I like to think that my body and my health are in my own hands, thank you very much. My grandmother and my mother fought hard to make sure that I could grow up in a world where I can receive information about family planning, where getting married is a choice, and where I am in control about making decisions about my sexuality and reproduction.

    But much as I like to think that I am the sole master of my destiny, I have spent enough time in the halls of the United Nations to know better. This week, governments from around the world have come together at the United Nations in New York at the 47th Session of the Commission on Population and Development. Throughout this week they will talk about big global issues like young people’s access to comprehensive sexuality education, and the many ways and forms in which people create families. They will leave New York with agreement on a document that will re-affirm the rights that we have to make decisions about our sexuality and reproduction. And that is no small thing.

    November 29, 2013
    Many of the women and girls spoke of ongoing rape and other forms of sexual violence - carried out on their villages in Darfur as well as by armed militias as they were attempting to flee across the border to Chad.

    By Manar Idriss, Sudan researcher at Amnesty International

    November 28, 2013

    Ahmed Ezz, a mechanical engineer, talks about his voluntary work with Operation Anti-Sexual Harrassment/Assault (OpAntiSH), an activist organization based in Cairo, Egypt, known for intervening in sexual assaults by mobs in Tahrir Square.

    When people find out that a woman has been sexually harassed and assaulted, their first reaction is “what was she wearing?”. They always lay the blame on the women themselves. I’ve witnessed this so many times.

    It is not safe at all in Cairo for women and girls. Their freedom of movement is constantly constrained. Some avoid using the metro, and spend more money on taking taxis or multiple buses, simply to minimize the risk of harassment and assault. If women and girls complain about sexual harassment, people around them just try to calm them down, belittle their concerns or accuse them of unjustly pointing the fingers at harassers.

    Finding a solution

    November 22, 2013

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

    Since 1991, women’s rights activists from around the world have come together for 16 days in November and December to raise awareness about gender-based violence, show solidarity with fellow activists around the world, and take action!

    What is gender-based violence?

    Gender-based violence is violence directed at a person because of their gender. Due to the disproportionate number of women and girls who face domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, forced prostitution, and harmful practices, ‘16 days’ focuses on women and girls.

    Why 16 days?

    The activist calendar is packed with significant dates related to gender-based violence in the 16 days from November 25th to December 10th.

    November 13, 2013

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

    For months, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have been sounding the alarm bell about the erosion of women’s human rights in Egypt. The issue received media coverage in June and July of this year when a large number of women were attacked while protesting in Tahrir Square, but otherwise media and public attention to this issue has been scant.

    October 24, 2013

    By: Eman Al Nafjan (@Saudiwoman) is a female blogger from Saudi Arabia who has been campaigning against the driving ban. She was arrested by police earlier this month as she filmed a female driver breaking the ban.  

    If there was one word to describe what it is like to be a Saudi woman, it would be the word patronizing. No matter how long you live, you remain a minor in the eyes of the government.

    September 10, 2013

    By Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty's International Secretraiat in London, England

    Her body ridden with bullets and left on the outskirts of Paktika province in Afghanistan, Sushmita Banerjee’s killing was horrifying but, sadly, not surprising.

    The Indian woman had escaped captivity under the Taliban in 1995 and went on to write a book about her experiences.

    Authorities in Afghanistan now say they have arrested two men over the killing, in a move that is unusual for cases of violence against women.

    For well over a year, we have seen many reported cases of beatings, disfigurations, kidnappings and killings of women and girls across the country – particularly in rural areas.

    June 14, 2013
    A 13-year-old rape survivor in Nicaragua draw her hopes for the future.

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

    This week Canada had the rather unenviable position of chairing negotiations at the UN Human Rights Council on its annual resolution on violence against women. It is something Canada has done for close to twenty years, and Canada’s leadership has been lauded for progressively strengthening this important resolution.

    This should be easy, right? Who wouldn’t want to support actions to combat violence, and in particular sexual violence, against women and girls? Think again. It certainly wasn’t the case this year.

    June 04, 2013

    UPDATE: Beatriz send thanks to those who spoke out for rights, after receiving life-saving treatment during her pregnancy.

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

    Twenty-two-year-old Beatriz from El Salvador waited for 14 weeks to receive life-saving medical treatment, knowing that the fetus growing inside her was missing most of its brain and skull and would not survive, and that her own life was at greater risk each and every day due to medical conditions aggravated by pregnancy.

    Beatriz underwent a cesarean section on Monday, June 3, and her infant died not long after delivery. As of midday on June 4, Beatriz remained in hospital in stable condition.

    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.

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