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Women's Human Rights

    September 17, 2019

    Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist who had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017, was released September 6, 2019, as a result of international advocacy efforts, spearheaded by Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, and dozens of members of the United States Congress.

    August 21, 2019

    In response to a ruling by a court today in El Salvador under which Evelyn Hernández was acquitted of charges for aggravated homicide, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This is a resounding victory for the rights of women in El Salvador. It reaffirms that no woman should be wrongly accused of homicide for the simple fact of suffering an obstetric emergency. Now that Evelyn has been acquitted, Amnesty International calls on El Salvador to end the shameful and discriminatory practice of criminalizing women once and for all by immediately revoking the nation’s draconian anti-abortion laws.”

    Background information

    On 6 April 2016, Evelyn Hernández, 21, suffered an obstetric emergency in her home in El Salvador which resulted in the loss of her pregnancy. Once at hospital, attending staff reported her to the police. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 30 years in jail for aggravated homicide. In 2018, a higher court overturned this ruling and ordered a re-trial.

    August 20, 2019

    Because of persistently high levels of gender-based violence, because women are still being sterilized without their consent, because of the gender wage gap and lack of economic security for women and non-binary people… we need all candidates in the October federal election to discuss women’s rights and gender equality issues.

    In 2015, Amnesty International was part of a coalition that advocated for such a debate. But not all parties were willing to participate in a debate on issues directly impacting half of Canada’s population. In fact, the last federal leader’s debate on women’s rights and gender equality issues was 35 years ago!

    When you engage with federal election candidates in your riding, let them know what gender equality is not yet a reality and we demand that the issues impacting women and non-binary people in Canada be directly addressed in the federal election campaign.

    August 02, 2019

    Saudi Arabia must follow up on crucial reforms announced today to address women’s rights by ending its persecution of women’s rights defenders and immediately and unconditionally releasing those who are currently detained for their peaceful activism, said Amnesty International.

    Saudi Arabian newspapers announced major reforms to several laws easing some of the major restrictions which are imposed on women as part of the country’s repressive male guardianship system. The reforms will allow women the right to obtain a passport that should make it possible for them to travel without the permission of a male guardian. They also give women equal rights to lead household and some family-related matters.

    “The reforms announced today are a significant but long overdue step forward for women’s rights. These changes are a clear testament to the tireless campaigning of women’s rights activists who have battled against rampant discrimination in Saudi Arabia for decades,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. 

    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 29, 2019

    Arab leaders must bring an end to the widespread repression that has become a hallmark of governments in the region, Amnesty International said today ahead of the Arab League Summit in Tunisia this weekend. 

    The lack of international accountability throughout the region has meant that governments in MENA have had free rein to imprison peaceful critics, restrict the activities of civil society or use arbitrary arrest, detention and excessive use of force against protesters demanding their rights.

    “All across the MENA region, thousands of peaceful critics have been victims of relentless government violations”, said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The fact that the summit is being held in Tunisia is a reminder that people across the Arab world rose up in protest calling for social justice and political reform in 2011 - yet the Arab Summit seeks to pretend that this never happened.

    March 06, 2019

    States should take a clear stand against human rights violations in Saudi Arabia by joining a UN Human Rights Council statement addressing the government’s crackdown on peaceful activists, including a group of detained women human rights defenders known to have been tortured and sexually abused, said Amnesty International.

    The crucial statement, due to be delivered at a Human Rights Council session on Thursday, is expected to address Saudi Arabia’s use of counter-terrorism legislation to persecute people peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly, and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

    “This initiative at the UN Human Rights Council offers a rare opportunity for states to take a strong public stand against the catalogue of human rights violations by the government of Saudi Arabia.  States who stay silent risk abdicating responsibility at a crucial moment and sending a dangerous message that Saudi Arabia can continue to commit egregious abuses without being held to account,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    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

    February 26, 2019

    Across Canada and as recently as 2017, Indigenous women report being forcibly or coercively sterilized. Some women were incorrectly told the procedure is reversible. Others were separated from their babies until they consented to a tubal ligation.

    Forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women are a result of systemic bias and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. They are an assault on the cultural integrity of societies that have already endured grave human rights violations including forced assimilation.

    Sterilizing women without their free, full, and informed consent is a form of violence and torture. Measures to prevent births within ethnic or racial groups is explicitly prohibited by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    All women have the human right to make decisions around if, when, and how to create a family. All women have a right to live free from violence and discrimination. All women have a right to health.

    February 26, 2019

    Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Youssef, and other women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia were arrested in 2018 in a crackdown on women’s rights activism specifically, and on freedom of expression more broadly.

     

    They continue to be detained without charge, amidst credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.

     

    January 24, 2019

    Amnesty International has obtained new reports of torture and abuse inflicted on a group of Saudi Arabian human rights activists who have been in arbitrary detention since May 2018. These reports follow similar testimonies from November 2018 into the torture of a number of the activists, and highlight the urgent need to allow independent monitors access to those in detention, the organization said today.

    According to the testimonies, a total of ten human rights defenders were tortured, sexually abused, and subjected to other forms of ill-treatment during their first three months of detention, when they were held in an informal detention facility in an unknown location.

    One woman activist was wrongly told by an interrogator that her family members had died, and was made to believe this for an entire month. According to another account, two activists were forced to kiss each other while interrogators watched. One activist reported that interrogators had forced water into her mouth as she was shouting while being tortured. Others reported being tortured with electric shocks.

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