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Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    April 23, 2018

    El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly must seize the historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion before the current legislative cycle closes at the end of April, said Amnesty International today.

    “Having wasted several opportunities to decriminalize abortion in recent weeks, El Salvador’s lawmakers must act now to pass this landmark reform, which would save the lives of countless women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The horrendous total ban on abortion violates the right to life, health and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, impacting half of the country’s population. Failure to end this injustice would be a devastating step backwards for human rights in El Salvador.”

    El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is currently banned under all circumstances. At least 23 women remain in prison for pregnancy-related complications in the context of the total abortion ban.

    March 14, 2018

    Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín, a 34-year-old woman who spent 15 years in prison after suffering a stillbirth, was released from prison on Tuesday following the reduction of her 30-year sentence for “aggravated homicide” under El Salvador’s total abortion ban. In response to her release, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director, said:

    “While it’s a huge relief that Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín’s sentence was reduced and she has now been released, the real story here remains a tragedy. The fact that Maira has spent 15 years behind bars and had almost half of her life taken from her is a harrowing illustration of everything that is wrong with the justice system in El Salvador.

    “El Salvador’s total abortion ban is causing pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families and clearly violates their human rights. El Salvador must decriminalize abortion without delay, and immediately and unconditionally release all women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or having suffered obstetric emergencies.”

    January 29, 2018

    DUBLIN, 29 January 2018 – Amnesty International has welcomed the government’s decision at today’s Cabinet meeting to schedule a referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Cabinet decided wording that effectively repeals the Eighth Amendment. It adopted the Attorney General’s recommendation that an enabling clause be inserted to provide greater legal certainty for the Oireachtas to legislate for termination of pregnancy. It was agreed that the Minister for Health will prepare legislation in line with the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s recommendations on abortion access, which includes a 12-week ‘on request’ period for abortion access.

    “We are heartened at today’s government backing for legislation framed around a 12-week ‘on request’ model for abortion access, with later gestational limits in specific circumstances. This is a further sign of real political will to put women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy firmly at the centre of abortion law reform. We further welcome the Taoiseach’s personal endorsement of this legislative model as the best way to ensure effective access to this healthcare.

    December 14, 2017

    A court’s decision not to release a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a miscarriage in El Salvador is an outrageous step backward for justice, Amnesty International said.

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortions.

    The trial was marred by irregularities. 

    “Teodora’s tragic story is a sad illustration of everything that is wrong with the justice system in El Salvador, where human rights seem to be a foreign concept,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    December 08, 2017

    A court’s decision to postpone the hearing of a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a stillbirth in El Salvador is an outrageous and careless act, Amnesty International said.

    “Teodora has waited 10 years to be before the court that sent her to prison for a stillbirth in 2007, but the judges were not ready to make the decision to undo this utter injustice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortion.

    Her case was reviewed by the court today, but it decided to postpone the decision until Wednesday, December 13.

    August 22, 2017

     

    GOOD NEWS: Chile has decriminalized abortion!

    Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal has ruled in favour of decriminalizing abortion under three specific circumstances. This is an important step toward ensuring the protection of women and girls’ human rights across the country.

    A Chilean Constitutional Tribunal ruling on 21 August confirmed that the country’s constitution now allows for the decriminalization of and access to abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or girl, when the foetus would be unable to survive outside the womb, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

    August 21, 2017
      A decision by Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal today to support the decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances represents an important win for human rights and for the protection of the lives and health of women and girls across the country, Amnesty International said.   Today’s ruling confirms that Chile’s Constitution allows for the decriminalization of abortion when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of fatal foetal impairment.   “Chile has finally moved one step closer to protecting the human rights of women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This victory is testament to the work of millions of women across the Americas and the world who fight against draconian laws that punish women and push them to seeking clandestine and dangerous abortions, putting their health and lives at risk.”  
    August 01, 2017
      Responding to news that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday 1 August to abolish Article 308 of the penal code, which allowed perpetrators of sexual violence to escape punishment by marrying their victim, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle East at Amnesty International said:   “The vote to abolish this repugnant law is a long overdue step in the right direction for the Kingdom of Jordan. We now urge the parliament’s upper house and King Abdullah II to immediately approve the vote and confirm the country’s commitment to gender equality.   “While this offers a much-needed glimmer of hope for women’s rights in the region, there is still a long way to go. Other countries must immediately follow suit and abolish these absurd laws. The Lebanese government will soon be voting to abolish its own version of the law, article 522. We urge Lebanese lawmakers to make the right choice.”   Background:  
    July 19, 2017
      The Chilean Chamber of Deputies has an historic opportunity to put the country on the right side of human rights, Amnesty International said ahead of a debate today on the potential decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances.   Late last night, the Chilean Senate passed a bill to decriminalize abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of lethalfoetal impairment.   “Chile is finally taking a step away from the small number of countries that still expose women and girls to terrible suffering due to the cruel and draconian laws and policies that violate their human right to make free choices about their own bodies, health and lives,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This historic vote, although limited, is a testament to the tireless work done by activists in every corner of Chile to ensure the country respects and protects women’s rights.”  
    July 07, 2017
      The sentence against a 19-year-old rape survivor to 30 years in prison on charges of “aggravated homicide” after she suffered pregnancy related complications, is a terrifying example of the need for El Salvador to urgently repeal its retrograde anti-abortion law, Amnesty International said.   “El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families. It goes against human rights and it has no place in the country or anywhere,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “The total ban on abortion in El Salvador violates women’s rights to life, health, privacy, due process and freedom from discrimination, violence and torture and other ill-treatment. All women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or experiencing obstetric emergencies should be immediately and unconditionally released, and the law must be repealed without delay.”  
    June 29, 2017
    ·         ‘This absurd ruling is an insult to women and girls and everyone around the country who cares about justice’ – Grainne Teggart ·         ‘This is a dark day for women’s rights in Northern Ireland’ – Sarah Ewart   The Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled today that Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion laws are not in breach of human rights standards, a decision Amnesty International called “absurd” and “an insult to women and girls”.   The court assessed whether a High Court ruling in 2015 that current laws, which prohibit abortion even in the case of rape or incest or where the foetus has a fatal defect, breach women’s right to privacy. It also looked at whether the laws are at odds with the right to be free from cruel and degrading treatment and discrimination.    Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Campaign Manager for Amnesty International, said:
    June 23, 2017

    Photo Credit:Amnesty International

    Image Text: Women and girls die each year because of the prohibition of abortion in the Dominican Republic. Demand to congress today the decriminalization of abortion. Support the dignity of women.

     

    May 08, 2017

    The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador has a historic opportunity to reject the criminalization of abortion and protect the health and lives of millions of women throughout the country, said Amnesty International in light of a debate which could result in the first steps being taken towards the end of criminalization of abortion in the country.

    “The total ban on abortion is, quite simply, a form of torture which puts the lives of millions of women and girls at risk every day,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Abortion has been criminalized in all circumstances in El Salvador since 1998, even when the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or where the life of the pregnant woman or girl is at risk. Many women and girls have lost their lives or been imprisoned due to the total abortion ban.

    April 25, 2017

    Ahead of a debate in the Honduran congress today over the country’s criminalization of abortion, Amnesty International’s Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas said:

    “By criminalizing abortion, the Honduran Penal Code is incompatible with human rights standards and must be modified without delay.”

    “Preventing women from exercising their human rights by stopping them from being able to make decisions over their own bodies only puts their health and lives in danger.”

    As part of a wider debate on the country’s Penal Code, the Honduran Congress will debate proposed changes that would allow for abortions when the health of the pregnant woman is at risk, when the pregnancy was the result of rape and in cases of foetal impairment that is incompatible with life.

    In a report last year, Amnesty International documented many abuses – some of which may amount to torture — faced by women across the Americas as a consequence of the criminalization of abortion services in some countries in the region.

    April 04, 2017

    Download PDF of UA 80/17 Russia 

    80 Russia.pdf

     

    Men who are believed to be gay are being abducted, tortured or even killed in Chechnya as part of a coordinated campaign with impunity.

    On 1 April, the Russian independent daily newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that over a hundred men believed to be gay have been abducted in recent days, as part of a coordinated campaign. The men were reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Novaya Gazeta claimed to have verified information about at least three men who had been killed by their captors, but its sources claim that there have been many more killings.

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