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

Main menu

Facebook Share

Women's Human Rights

    November 19, 2018

    Alisa Lombard is an associate with Maurice Law, Canada’s first national Indigenous-owned law firm, and the lead on a proposed class action law suit in Saskatchewan brought by two women who claim having been forcibly or coercively sterilized between 2000-2010. Over 60 women have reached out reporting they were sterilized without proper and informed consent, most from Saskatchewan, and also from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.

    We spoke with Alisa the week the issue of the ongoing practice of forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada became headline news, prompting calls for urgent action to end this human rights violation and provide justice for the survivors.

    Alisa, to say you’ve had a busy week is an understatement. A week ago, before this story broke, how well known was it in Canada that Indigenous women continue to have tubal litigations without consenting to the procedure?

    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.

    September 10, 2018

    Take ACTION in September-October to help us make an IMPACT during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in November-December!

    Amnesty International Canada has long been campaigning alongside organizations like Women's Shelters Canada for a National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Read this to learn more about why Canada so badly needs a national action plan.

    August 08, 2018
    Demand freedom for women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia

    By Alex Neve
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Last week, two prominent and courageous women’s rights activists, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada, were arrested in Saudi Arabia.

    No one imagined that on top of the personal injustice for Samar and Nassima that their arrest was going to spark a major diplomatic stand-off between Canada and Saudi Arabia about human rights.  And in doing so, put Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record in the international spotlight in ways that it rarely is.

    Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada are, sadly, two more in a growing list of women human rights defenders arrested and jailed in Saudi Arabia over the past three months. That includes Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, imprisoned since mid-May.  Loujain has strong Canadian connections, as she is a graduate of the University of British Columbia.  

    June 18, 2018

    By Monica Benício

     

    This op-ed was written by Monica Benício, the widow of Marielle Franco, a courageous women human rights defender who was murdered in Brazil in March 2018. It was originally published in Portuguese in O Globo on June 12th, to mark Brazilian Valentine's Day.

     

    June 01, 2018

    Since the 1990s, women in Saudi Arabia have been advocating for the right to drive cars. The driving ban was overturned last year, and women will finally be allowed to drive starting June 24, 2018.

    But just weeks before the ban is set to be lifted, Saudi authorities have detained—without charge—and held incommunicado, some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and outspoken women human rights defenders, including University of British Columbia graduate Loujain al-Hathloul. At least 11 women human rights defenders have been arrested and six remain in detention. To Amnesty International’s knowledge, none have been charged with an offense. They have no access to lawyers or their families, and they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

    The activists arrested have all peacefully advocated for women’s right to drive, an end to the male guardianship system, and gender equality. Arresting the most prominent women’s rights advocates could decimate the women’s rights movement in Saudi Arabia.

    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.

    March 08, 2018

    A recent poll commissioned by Amnesty and carried out in eight countries by research group Ipsos MORI showed nearly one in four women (23%) have experienced abuse or harassment online, much of it disturbingly aggressive. The poll shows women are often left traumatized and anxious after encountering this abuse, which may be of various types:

    March 07, 2018

    A feminist policy can guide all policymaking.

    Canada’s prime minister and government are openly feminist, and ‘feminist foreign policy’ is the new buzz phrase on Parliament Hill. Is a feminist foreign policy what Canada most needs?

    The answer is absolutely yes — one centred on addressing the historical and structural gender power imbalances at the root of gender inequality, and their intersection with race, ethnicity, and other identity factors. This implicitly involves alleviating symptoms of inequality such as violence, early and forced marriage, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, and barriers to participating in politics, peace processes, and the labour force.

    "Canada must be held to the same rigorous standards as other countries to address the root causes of persistent gender inequality here at home."

    March 07, 2018

    It’s March, and like many working parents, I’m making plans for the nine weeks when school is not in session this summer. Last year I naively thought that my child and I could have a chat, I’d book camps, and everything would be set. Oh, how I learned! I am more prepared this year and am in the midst of immense internet research and an intense series of complex negotiations involving myself, my child’s other parent, my child, my employer, organizations I work with (lest I book my vacation during a peak time on the human rights calendar), my family and close friends who live across the country, the parents of my child’s closest friends, my own playmates whom I want to go on camping adventures with, my bank account, and the weather forecaster.

    March 02, 2018

    Every single day, women human rights defenders in Canada and around the world advocate tirelessly for justice and equality. International Women’s Day is the ‘feminist new year’s celebration,’ a time to pause, take stock of achievements over the past year, reflect, and renew commitments to ensure the rights of women, transgender, and non-binary individuals are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    February 16, 2018

    Amnesty International is pleased to offer the acclaimed new Canadian documentary “A Better Man” to Amnesty supporters interested in organizing film screenings to further discussion and action to help end gender-based violence in Canada.

    The feature-length film documents the journey of Toronto-based activist and filmmaker Attiya Khan as she reconnects with the man she was in an intimate relationship with over 20 years prior. “A Better Man documents a personal experiment for me and my abusive ex-partner — a step towards understanding and accountability,” said Attiya. “By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse. I hope that sharing my personal search for justice and healing will contribute to the struggle to end domestic violence.”

     

    November 27, 2017
    Interested in the rights of women in China? Take action in support of Ni Yulan during the Write for Rights letter-writing marathon.

    By Lü Pin, Chinese Feminist Activist

    The tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men spurred millions of women to speak up online about their disturbing experiences.

    Ten years after African American activist Tarana Burke coined #MeToo after meeting a victim of sexual violence, the social media campaign is an unexpected victory for the women’s movement. Due to the bravery of these women the offenders may finally be held to account.

    November 24, 2017

    Women human rights defenders. Whether we’re defending the rights of women, girls and LGBTI folks, or advocating for land and environment, we’re more likely to be marginalized by government and within civil society movements. Our work is often less visible in the media, and the harassment and violence so many of us experience because of our activism happens far from the public eye. Too often we face challenges accessing justice and reparations for human rights violations we have experienced.

    As the global space for civil society to peacefully advocate in support of human rights shrinks, we face many of the same risks to our safety and security as our male counterparts. But in addition, we are targeted, stigmatized, and sometimes silenced because of who we are and what we do. Because we are women. Because we dare to challenge patriarchal structures, institutions and practices. Because our activism challenges traditional gender roles or stereotypes as we step into public spaces usually occupied by men.

    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.

    Pages