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Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    October 23, 2015

    Authorities in the Indonesian region of Aceh must immediately repeal a controversial new bylaw which imposes harsh flogging sentences for consensual sex in some instances and could make it easier for rapists to escape justice, said Amnesty International today.

    Aceh’s new Islamic Criminal Code (Qanun Jinayat) came into effect today, imposing caning sentences for consensual sexual relationships outside marriage and same-sex relations, punishable by up to 30 lashes and up to 100 lashes, respectively. It also introduces unacceptable hurdles for those reporting rape along with punishments for anyone deemed to have made false allegations.

    “To punish anyone who has had consensual sex with up to 100 lashes is despicable,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s South East Asia Campaigns Director.

    October 09, 2015

    A recent revelation by satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani that she was forced to undergo a “virginity and pregnancy test”, prior to her trial for a charge of “illegitimate sexual relations” for shaking hands with her lawyer, has added another stain on Iran’s shameful record of violence against women, Amnesty International said today.

    In a note written by Atena Farghadani leaked from prison, which has been seen by Amnesty International, she says the judicial authorities took her to a medical centre outside the prison on 12 August 2015 and forced her to submit to the tests, purportedly with the purpose of investigating the charge against her.

    “It is shocking that on top of imposing a ludicrous charge on Atena Farghadani for the ‘crime’ of shaking hands with her lawyer, the Irania

    The authorities have forced her to undergo a ‘virginity and pregnancy test’,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    September 28, 2015

    Released 28 September 2015, 00:01 Mexico time (05:00 GMT)

    Chile’s draconian anti-abortion law is treating women as second-class citizens and putting their lives and health at risk, said Amnesty International amid a heated congressional debate to modify the legislation.

    “Chile’s outrageous abortion ban creates a climate of fear among health professionals whose first thought is often to report a woman or a girl to the police for a suspected abortion rather than give them life-saving treatment. It creates a two-tiered health system in which women are seen as mere child-bearing vessels,” said Fernanda Doz Costa, Researcher on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Americas at Amnesty International.

    September 25, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland joined with the Abortion Rights Campaign fourth annual March for Choice in Dublin today, to highlight the fact that criminalising women for having abortions is an abuse of their human rights.

    Amnesty International’s global My Body My Rights campaign has Ireland as a focus, because we have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes in the world. Not only are women and girls denied their human right to access safe and legal abortions, at a minimum where they are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, their heath is at risk or there is a fatal or severe foetal impairment.  Irish law also criminalises any woman or girl - and her healthcare provider - if they have an abortion outside of the very limited scope of the 2013 Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

    August 13, 2015

    Reports that an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was repeatedly raped, allegedly by her step father, gave birth today are a tragic reminder of the urgent need for Paraguay to repeal its draconian anti-abortion law, said Amnesty International.

    “We are very pleased to hear that both ‘Mainumby’ and the newborn are in good health but she is lucky to be alive. Only time will tell the true extent of the physical and psychological consequences of her tragic ordeal,” said Erika Guevara, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  
     
    “The fact that ‘Mainumby’ did not die does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities, who decided to gamble with her health, life and integrity despite overwhelming evidence that this pregnancy was extremely risky and despite the fact that she was a rape-victim and a child.”

    August 11, 2015

    At its International Council Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, Amnesty International adopted a resolution outlining principles that will lead to a new global policy to protect and uphold the human rights of sex workers.    

    The principles seek to protect people of all genders who are involved in the sex trade - and who face deep marginalization and discrimination in countries around the world - from violence and other human rights abuses.

    The resolution directs Amnesty International's Board to adopt a policy supporting the full decriminalization of consensual adult sex work, while continuing to advocate for full and effective enforcement of laws and policies to prevent and redress violence, trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.

    August 06, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland 

    Ireland must repeal the 8th amendment – Amnesty International global delegates call for change

    Today in Dublin, Amnesty International activists from around the world staged a protest against Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws outside the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). Delegates brought 80 suitcases to signify the number of Irish women and girls who travel abroad each and every week to access a safe and legal abortion.

    Their reasons for seeking an abortion vary; some are survivors of rape, some are carrying a foetus with a severe or fatal impairment, some have serious health conditions, some make the decision for economic or other reasons. But all of them are left with no option other than to travel to another jurisdiction.

    Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O’Gorman said: “Every year 4,000 Irish women and girls travel abroad for an abortion. Since 1971, at least 177,000 women and girls have had to leave Ireland to seek an abortion. The true figure may in fact be higher but this is a staggering number.

    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.

    July 08, 2015

    Released 10.30 GMT (11.30 BST) 08 July 2015 

    The Irish government is under growing pressure to reform its anti-abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the world, Amnesty International said today as it published results of an opinion poll on public attitudes to abortion in Ireland.

    The poll, carried out for Amnesty International by RED C Research and Marketing, shows that the majority of people in Ireland are not aware that abortion is a criminal offence. The vast majority disagree with the current criminal sanctions for women who have abortions, or doctors who provide abortions.  

    Asked whether the Irish government should decriminalize abortion, 67% agreed and 25% disagreed. 81% are in favour of significantly widening the grounds for access to legal abortions in Ireland.

    June 22, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    The Government must accept that the 1983 Eighth Amendment of Ireland's Constitution is causing serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today following the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ criticism of the state’s law on abortion.

    In its review of Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the UN Committee was critical of Ireland's "highly restrictive abortion law and strict interpretation thereof" and set out a pathway for reform.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:

    “The UN is clear on what international law says about Ireland – its laws on abortion are violating the human rights of women and girls.

    June 10, 2015

    International pressure is increasing on the Paraguayan authorities to urgently provide the girl raped when she was 10-year-old the medical care she desperately needs, including the option of the termination of her pregnancy, Amnesty International said after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for urgent action to protect her human rights. The State has 72 hours to respond to the Inter American Commission.

    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is the latest in a long line of international experts who have voiced their outrage at the horrific way this young girl is being treated by the Paraguayan authorities.

    June 10, 2015

    The African Union must emphasise the obligation of its member states to promote, protect, and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health, Amnesty International said today as the 25th AU summit got underway in Johannesburg, with a focus on “Women Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063.”

    The organisation believes that universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, reduce poverty and achieve the development goals of both the post-2015 agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063

    “The AU has made welcome commitments to campaign to end child marriage, and the reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality in Africa. However, women and girls, in particular those living in poverty and in conflict, face multiple barriers to accessing the sexual and reproductive health-related information and services they need, putting their lives at risk,” said Louise Carmody, Researcher for Amnesty International.

    June 09, 2015

    Pregnant women and girls risk putting their health and lives in danger if they remain in Ireland, Amnesty International said today in a report on the country’s abortion law.

    The report  She is not a criminal: The Impact of Ireland’s abortion law documents shocking cases of Irish authorities denying women and girls necessary healthcare in order to prioritize the life of the foetus – which is protected by an amendment to Ireland’s constitution added in 1983.

    May 28, 2015

    From a raped 10-year-old girl denied an abortion in Paraguay, to women imprisoned in El Salvador after having a miscarriage, millions of women and girls all over Latin America are suffering because of outdated and discriminatory abortion laws and policies, said Amnesty International.

    “Today, on the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, from the Caribbean to South America countless women and girls are suffering terribly from cruel and draconian laws and policies that violate their human right to make choices about their own bodies, health and lives,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Sadly there is still a long way to go.  Earlier this week, Peru’s Justice Commission in Congress let rape victims down by passing up the chance to ensure women and girls that are victims of rape have the option to access safe and legal abortion services.

    “In Paraguay the future of a 10-year-old girl still hangs in the balance.

    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.

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