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Women's Human Rights

    December 09, 2018
    Amnesty publishes review of human rights in 2018

    Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today as it launched its review on the state of human rights over the past year.

    The human rights group also warns that the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic policies has placed freedoms and rights that were won long ago in fresh jeopardy.

    “In 2018, we witnessed many of these self-proclaimed ‘tough guy’ leaders trying to undermine the very principle of equality – the bedrock of human rights law. They think their policies make them tough, but they amount to little more than bully tactics trying to demonize and persecute already marginalized and vulnerable communities,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “But it is women activists who have offered the most powerful vision this year of how to fight back against these repressive leaders.”

    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.

    August 01, 2018

    The arrest of two more prominent women human rights activists in Saudi Arabia is further proof of a crackdown that shows no sign of relenting, Amnesty International said today.

    Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada were detained earlier this week, Amnesty International has learned. They have both been repeatedly targeted, harassed, and placed under travel bans for their human rights activism.

    “This unprecedented level of persecution of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is a disturbing sign that the crackdown is far from over,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director.

    “These brave women represented the last vestiges of the human rights community in the country, and now they too have been detained. Saudi Arabia’s new leadership under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has crushed any space for the existence of human rights defenders in the country.

    August 01, 2018

    As a new law banning the wearing of face coverings in public comes into force in Denmark, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Fotis Filippou said:

    “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. 

    “Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women's rights to freedom of expression and religion.

    “If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing - making a mockery of the freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”

    Background

    The Danish ban follows similar recent bans on full face veils in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland.

    May 31, 2018

    Since May 2018, authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested some of the country’s most prominent women human rights defenders. These courageous activists have peacefully advocated for the right of women to drive, an end to the male guardianship system, and for justice and equality. They have done nothing wrong, have not been charged with any crime, and should be released immediately and unconditionally. 

    We need you to take action online to support women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. 

    Saudi officials monitor social media and are sensitive to international pressure. This is why Amnesty International’s actions directly target the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa and official Saudi government social media feeds to:

    April 23, 2018

    As the space for civil society to peacefully advocate in support of human rights shrinks, being a human rights defender is getting increasingly dangerous. Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are experiencing harassment and violence—both on and offline—because of what they’re advocating for AND because of their gender. The space for WHRDs to safely advocate for human rights, is getting even smaller. And the space for women of colour, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, and other marginalized women to advocate in support for human rights is even smaller still.

    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.

    July 24, 2017
    Thousands of South Sudanese women and girls, and some men, who have been raped in ethnically-charged sexual attacks in the ongoing conflict are battling mental distress and stigma with nowhere to turn for help, Amnesty International revealed in a new report out today.   “Do not remain silent”: Survivors of Sexual violence in South Sudan call for justice and reparations, reveals aggravated acts of sexual violence against thousands of people across the country since hostilities began in December 2013. The report is the result of a joint research project between Amnesty International and 10 South Sudanese human rights defenders who cannot be named due to fear of reprisals from the government of South Sudan.  
    April 24, 2017

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    Overwhelming vote for complete constitutional and legal reform an important vindication of women’s and girls’ human rights

    Amnesty International today applauded the Citizens’ Assembly’s resounding vote against retaining the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s Constitution, and its vote to give the Oireachtas unrestricted power to legislate for abortion. It described the Assembly’s two-thirds majority vote for access to abortion on request at least in early pregnancy, and even greater majority votes for later gestational limits in specific circumstances, an important vindication of women’s and girls’ human rights.

    March 17, 2017

    Johannesburg --The Angolan government must allow protesters to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said ahead of a planned demonstration in Luanda for a women’s right to have an abortion.

    The protest, scheduled for March 18, 2017, is in response to the new draft penal code currently before parliament, which punishes without exceptions those who have or perform an abortion with up to 10 years in prison.

    “We have often seen Angolan police use unnecessary and excessive force against peaceful demonstrators,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    Parliament approved an amendment on abortion on February 24 as part of the process of replacing Angola’s penal code from the 1886 colonial-era version. The government had proposed a bill that would criminalize abortion, except in cases of rape or when the mother’s health is in danger. But parliament rejected that proposal and made abortion, without exceptions, illegal. The final vote on the draft penal code is slated for March 23.

    January 27, 2017

    By Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA

    A mere two days after millions of people marched around the word with and in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, President Donald J. Trump announced the “Global Gag Rule,” a major blow to women’s rights and human rights worldwide.

    Trump’s Global Gag Rule prohibits U.S. international aid to groups that so much as educate their communities on safe abortion. Even if an organization is using non-U.S. funding for such activities, they will lose their U.S. funding if they offer counseling, advocate for legal reform, provide abortions, or even provide referrals at any time.

    Foreign NGOs and clinics, many of whom depend on U.S. funding to deliver life-saving healthcare, must choose between two impossible choices: 1) take the funding they depend on but deny the services their communities need and deserve, or 2) refuse U.S. funding and struggle to keep clinics open, offer services, and advocate for laws that reduce unsafe abortions.

    January 23, 2017

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner, Amnesty Internatioanl Canada

    Amnesty yellow mingled with the Women’s March on Washington’s signature pink toques at solidarity marches from St. John's to Victoria on Saturday, January 21. Amnesty supporters were amongst the 3+ million march participants worldwide. We marched against fear, hate, and in support of love, equality and justice. We marched for women’s rights and for LGBTI rights.





    On inauguration day, many women and LGBTI people felt invisible in the president’s speech, erased from the White House’s list of policy priorities, and concerned about the potential impacts of new policies on civil liberties, the shrinking space for civil society, women’s rights, and LGBTI rights.

    December 07, 2016

    The arrest today of Azza Soliman, the founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, an NGO which works to prevent violence against women, is a clear sign that Egyptian authorities are intensifying the crackdown on human rights activists, said Amnesty International.

    Police officers arrived at Azza Soliman’s home this morning, presented an arrest warrant and took her to Masr el Gedida police station on the outskirts of Cairo, before taking her to an investigative judge’s office in New Cairo for questioning. 

    “Azza Soliman’s arrest is the latest chilling example of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic persecution of independent human rights defenders. We believe she has been arrested for her legitimate human rights work and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The intimidation and harassment of human rights activists has to stop,” said Najia Bounaim, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Tunis Regional office.

    August 03, 2016

    Press Conference Comments

    Alex Neve
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch)

    It is almost twelve years since Amnesty International launched our Stolen Sisters report, documenting the role of long entrenched discrimination in putting shocking numbers of Indigenous women and girls in harm’s way.

    In raising our voice, we joined the Native Women’s Association of Canada; family members of murdered and missing First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls; women and girls who had survived violence; and countless frontline organizations and allies; all of whom had been struggling for years to draw attention to the violence and demand real action to bring it to an end.

    Above all else today we honour the steadfast determination of the families who have courageously bared their pain and sorrow to Canada and, in fact, the world in pressing for justice.

    July 13, 2016

    It may seem like just one letter, just one petition signature, or just one day tabling at a farmer’s market. But when every signature, every conversation, and every  action are added together we accomplish extraordinary things we transform lives. And that’s just what we did through Amnesty's Stop Torture and My Body My Rights campaigns.

    Over the past two years we campaigned for Canada to join a key torture prevention treaty, we took action to support torture survivors in Mexico as they seek justice, and we called on countries around the world to end the secrecy in detention centres which allows torture to take place. We raised awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights issues, helped secure the release of women in El Salvador imprisoned for having pregnancy-related complications, and successfully helped to change laws on early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

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