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Women's Human Rights

    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.

    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 26, 2018

    Anielle Franco is an English teacher, former competitive volleyball player, parent of an energetic toddler, and a powerful grassroots advocate for the rights of black women in Brazil.

    She also happens to be the sister of renowned Brazilian women human rights defender and politician Marielle Franco, who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year. Jackie Hansen, Amnesty’s Gender Rights Campaigner, reports on Anielle’s human rights work including her ongoing campaign for justice for Marielle.

    November 26, 2018
    On March 8, 2018—International Women’s Day—protesters in Mexico City marched to demand an end to violence against women.

    Women human rights defenders experience harassment and violence because of what they’re advocating for and because of their gender.

    People who advocate for freedom, justice, and equality often do so in an environment where they are demonized and restricted in their work. Many human rights defenders are smeared, threatened, physically attacked, criminalized and sometimes even killed, just for daring to stand up to those in power.

    Imagine now how much harder your life as a human rights defender must be if you were targeted not only for what you do but also for who you are: welcome to your life as a woman human rights defender.

    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.

    November 13, 2018
    TAKE ACTION to end sterilizations without consent

    Canadian and international media are reporting on the ongoing practice of coerced of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.

    What is forced sterilization and coerced sterilization?

    September 10, 2018

    Take ACTION to help us make an IMPACT during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in November-December!

    Amnesty International Canada has long been campaigning alongside organizations like Women's Shelters Canada for a National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Read this to learn more about why Canada so badly needs a national action plan.

    We are trying to collect as many petition signatures as possible in 2018, to let the federal government know that people across Canada are outraged about the inconsistency in the supports and services available to survivors of gender-based violence! These inconsistencies can be addressed if municipal, provincial, territorial, First Nations, and federal leaders come together with people with lived experience and other relevant expertise to develop a national action plan. Signatures will be handed over to the federal government in 2019.

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