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Women's Human Rights

    June 14, 2019

    Quebec Native Women was founded in 1974 to fight sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act. Forty-five years later, this discrimination persists. Amnesty International spoke with Quebec Native Women’s Legal and Policy analyst Éloïse Décoste to learn more about steps her organization is taking to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act once and for all. Here’s what she had to say.

    TAKE ACTION NOW For people who aren’t familiar with the issue, can you please tell me how the Indian Act discriminates against Indigenous women?

    The Indian Act determines who is consider an Indian in the eyes of the government. Historically, an Indian* would be defined as a man, his wife, and his children. When an Indian woman married a man without Indian status, she lost her own status and could not pass her status on to her children. This was the situation until 1985.

    May 27, 2019

    Women engaged in sex work in the Dominican Republic are routinely raped, tortured, and humiliated by police as a form of social control, and as punishment for transgressing social norms surrounding femininity and sexuality. Transgender women suffer particularly extreme forms of sexual abuse and humiliation due to the additional transphobia they face. We must demand their protection and rights now.

    Amnesty International documented the stories of women that have been subjected to these abuses in “If they can have her, why can’t we?,” a report published in April 2019.

    Luna’s story

    In this video, Luna explains how transphobia and homophobia in the Dominican Republic influence particular forms of gender-based violence against people like her, engaged in sex work, and how their activism has helped to bring about change.

    May 03, 2019

    Iranian lawyer and women’s rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh’s heartbreaking letters from prison reveal the trauma inflicted on families by the government that claims to protect them.

    TAKE ACTION: Free Nasrin Now!

    March 04, 2019
    It’s been more than 40 years since the UN chose 8 March as the day to celebrate the power and efforts of women worldwide. A rallying call for feminists everywhere, it has thrown light on sexism and misogyny, while amplifying the voices of sisters everywhere. But with all the progress women have made, is it really still necessary?

    These women show us it really is. And the millions of women around the world who are joining the International Women’s Day strike agree. While many will march, many others will stay home, showing their solidarity in other ways with all our sisters who are making fierce choices in the battle to have their basic rights respected. From the right to drive to the right to have their identities recognised, these fierce women – from every region in the world – are showing us that Women’s Day is as valid today as it was 44 years ago.


    © AFP/Getty Images

    March 04, 2019
    The rights of women and girls are at the heart of what we do. Here are some recent wins we’ve helped bring about alongside the many grassroots activists who have campaigned tirelessly for these outcomes.

    Find out how you can contribute to the next big wins for women's rights!

    © Sophie Garcia | hanslucas.comSophie Garcia www.sophiegarcia.net

    November 26, 2018

    Anielle Franco is an English teacher, former competitive volleyball player, parent of an energetic toddler, and a powerful grassroots advocate for the rights of black women in Brazil.

    She also happens to be the sister of renowned Brazilian women human rights defender and politician Marielle Franco, who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year. Jackie Hansen, Amnesty’s Gender Rights Campaigner, reports on Anielle’s human rights work including her ongoing campaign for justice for Marielle.

    November 26, 2018
    On March 8, 2018—International Women’s Day—protesters in Mexico City marched to demand an end to violence against women.

    Women human rights defenders experience harassment and violence because of what they’re advocating for and because of their gender.

    People who advocate for freedom, justice, and equality often do so in an environment where they are demonized and restricted in their work. Many human rights defenders are smeared, threatened, physically attacked, criminalized and sometimes even killed, just for daring to stand up to those in power.

    Imagine now how much harder your life as a human rights defender must be if you were targeted not only for what you do but also for who you are: welcome to your life as a woman human rights defender.

    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.

    November 13, 2018
    TAKE ACTION to end sterilizations without consent

    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?

    September 10, 2018

    Take ACTION 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.

    We are trying to collect as many petition signatures as possible in 2018, to let the federal government know that people across Canada are outraged about the inconsistency in the supports and services available to survivors of gender-based violence! These inconsistencies can be addressed if municipal, provincial, territorial, First Nations, and federal leaders come together with people with lived experience and other relevant expertise to develop a national action plan. Signatures will be handed over to the federal government in 2019.

    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:

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