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Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    March 06, 2016

    The statistics tell a sobering tale. Burkina Faso has the 7th highest rate of child marriage in the world. More than half of all women were married before the age of 18 and 10% before age 15. Some girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage. Burkina Faso also has one of the world’s lowest rates ofcontraceptive use – only 17% of women. Many are denied contraception or use it in secret, out of fearof their husbands or in-laws.The end result is that by the time they are 19 years old, most girls are married, and nearly half of them are already mothers. They are raising children when they are still children themselves, in a country withone of the highest rates of maternal death in the world.

    TAKE ACTION to end early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    March 05, 2016

    International Women’s Day, March 8, is a rallying point for feminists worldwide. Established by the United Nations in 1975, it is a day to celebrate women’s achievements while highlighting remaining gender inequalities. But 41 years later, is it still necessary?

    YES! Women and girls may have scaled unimaginable heights in politics, science, arts, sports and business, but gender equality is not yet a reality anywhere in the world. Here are eight reasons why International Women’s Day is still so needed.

    January 06, 2016

    The UN’s welcome decision to investigate new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic again highlights the need for further reform and for perpetrators to be brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in CAR, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, confirmed yesterday that UNICEF staff had interviewed four girls reported to have been abused by peacekeepers. He called on troop-contributing countries to open their own investigations and offered support from the UN Office of Internal Oversight.

     “The reports of further allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply disturbing and highlight just how much needs to be done to stamp out this recurrent practice. The investigation is a welcome sign of good intent, but promises of zero-tolerance must be kept, and those responsible brought to justice in fair trials,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.  

    November 30, 2015

    Released Monday 30 November 2015, 00:01 Mexico Time (06:00 GMT)        

    El Salvador’s extreme anti-abortion law is having a devastating effect on the lives of scores of children whose mothers, having suffered miscarriages or other obstetric emergencies, are being held behind bars accused of having illegal abortions, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    Separated families, broken ties, reveals how children of women jailed under the absurd anti-abortion law are often left facing difficult financial circumstances and prevented from staying in touch with their mothers.

    “Each time authorities in El Salvador unfairly lock up a woman for having a miscarriage or suffering pregnancy related complications, they are also condemning her children to a life of poverty and trauma,” said Astrid Valencia, Central America Researcher at Amnesty International.

    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.

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