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Women's Human Rights

    April 07, 2017

    Iranian journalist Hengameh Shahidi is in a critical condition in Tehran’s Evin prison. She has been on hunger strike in protest at her arrest on 9 March. She has a heart condition and is refusing her medication. She is being held in solitary confinement and has been denied access to a lawyer.

     

    The health of journalist and political activist Hengameh Shahidi, aged 41, has seriously deteriorated since she went on hunger strike on 9 March 2017 in protest at her arbitrary arrest the same day. She has a pre-existing heart condition, for which she was previously hospitalized, and needs ongoing medical care, including medication. Her heart condition is exacerbated when she is under stress. At the beginning of April, she stopped taking her medication and is also refusing intravenous fluids.

    March 14, 2017

    Following today’s ruling by the Court of Justice the European Union that two employers did not break EU anti-discrimination law when they dismissed two women from their respective jobs in France and Belgium for wearing headscarves, John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia programme said:

    "Today's disappointing rulings by the European Court of Justice give greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women - and men - on the grounds of religious belief. At a time when identity and appearance has become a political battleground, people need more protection against prejudice, not less."

    "The court did say that employers are not at liberty to pander to the prejudices of their clients. But by ruling that company policies can prohibit religious symbols on the grounds of neutrality, they have opened a backdoor to precisely such prejudice. It is now for national governments to step up and protect the rights of their citizens.”

    Background

    March 08, 2017

    By Tarah Demant, Senior Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit, Amnesty International USA

    It’s hard to keep track of the various assaults on human rights coming out of the Trump administration. It’s particularly dizzying for women’s rights defenders — because make no mistake, these assaults are all part of a broader attack on women’s rights by President Donald Trump and his administration.

    March 02, 2017

    On March 8, six Ottawa-area feminist leaders will be recognized with Femmy Awards for their tireless work advancing women’s human rights and gender equality at an International Women’s Day event in Ottawa. The theme of this year’s event and Femmy Awards ceremony is “The Future is Feminist.”

    Since 2009, local feminists have celebrated International Women’s Day with a fun-filled event, including presentation of the Femmy Awards, organized by a coalition of organizations and individual volunteers engaged in women’s rights including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Amnesty International Canada, Canadian Federation of University Women, CUSO International, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Inter Pares, OCTEVAW, Oxfam Canada, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, and Women’s Shelters Canada.

    January 11, 2017

    On Saturday, January 21, the day after the US presidential inauguration, Amnesty International supporters will be amongst the hundreds of thousands of people marching in Washington, DC in support of women’s rights. Not able to travel to Washington, DC? Join one of the solidarity marches taking place across Canada.

    January 07, 2017

    Released 8 January 2017 00.01GMT

    One thousand days after the chilling abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, the Nigerian government must redouble its efforts to ensure the release of the girls, and all other victims of mass abduction, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on Boko Haram to put an end to the girls’ suffering and immediately release them and all other civilians they are currently holding.

    “This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals – many of whom are also children – who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country. These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop,” said Makmid Kamara, Acting Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria. 

    November 24, 2016

    By Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Annually since 1991, women’s rights activists from around the world have joined together to take action as part of the 16 Days of Activism to end Gender-based Violence campaign. Women and girls continue to experience violence directed at them because of their gender. Indigenous women and girls experience higher rates of violence than any other group of women and girls in Canada. The federal government has launched a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This is a laudable effort and one that Indigenous womens’ organizations, Amnesty International and many others long called for, but action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls must not be delayed until the Inquiry finishes its work two years from now.

    November 17, 2016

    The release from prison of three women who were subjected to rape and other forms of tortured in 2011 by marines to force them to “confess” to crimes brings a glimmer of hope to hundreds of others who are held behind bars unfairly across Mexico, said Amnesty International.

    Denise Lovato, Korina Urtrera and Wendy Díaz each spent more than five years in prison. They walked out of jail in the State of Morelos this morning after a judged acquitted them and ordered their immediate release.

    “Denise, Korina and Wendy should have never been imprisoned in the first place. Their harrowing stories show the tragic state of human rights in Mexico, where security forces routinely sexually abuse women to secure ‘confessions’ in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The stories of Denise, Korina and Wendy are featured in a recent groundbreaking Amnesty International investigation into the use of torture and other sexual violence against women in Mexico. 

    October 25, 2016

    Joint Statement by Canadian Civil Society Organizations

    Today Canada’s record of women’s equality is under the spotlight at the United Nations in Geneva. The 65th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women happens at an opportune moment for Canadian women. Canada has a new federal government with a Prime Minister who says he is a feminist, calls for a nation-to-nation relationship, and acknowledges that “poverty is sexist”.  We know words matter, but now we need action.

    Decades of regressive legislative changes and budget cuts have substantially eroded women’s rights under the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) in Canada. Since 1995, Canada has fallen from 1st to 25th place on the UN Gender Equality Index.

    August 17, 2016

    A ruling to release a woman sentenced to eight years in prison after having a miscarriage in Argentina is a step forward for human rights in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Last night the Supreme Court of Tucumán, a state in north Argentina, said there were not enough reasons to keep Belén, 27, in pre-trial detention. The Supreme Court of Tucumán is yet to issue a final ruling on the eight-year sentence imposed on Belén by the lower court. Belén is expected to be released from jail today.

    “Belén’s release is extremely positive and long awaited news. What we need to see now is for the charges against her to be dropped. Belén should have never been held behind bars in the first place, having a miscarriage is not a crime,” said Mariela Belski, Executive Director at Amnesty International Argentina.

    On 26 July, Amnesty International handed over more than 120,000 petitions from across the globe to local authorities, urging for Belén to be released.

    Background Information

    July 20, 2016

    July 20, 2016—As organizations and human rights experts, we are deeply concerned by the draft Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, which have been posted on media websites today.

    The TOR provide the framework for the National Inquiry and establish the authority of its Commissioners. In our view, the draft TOR risks a weak National Inquiry that lacks clear authority to delve into some of the most crucial factors in this human rights crisis. Our organizations are particularly concerned that the draft TOR provides no explicit mandate to report on, or make recommendations regarding, policing and justice system failures and inadequacies.

    July 12, 2016

    A new proposal by a group of parliamentarians from opposition party ARENA in El Salvador to increase jail terms for women accused of having an abortion to up to 50 years is scandalous, irresponsible and flies on the face of basic human rights standards, Amnesty International said.

    “Parliamentarians in El Salvador are playing a very dangerous game with the lives of millions of women. Banning life-saving abortions in all circumstances is atrocious but seeking to raise jail terms for women who seek an abortion or those who provide support is simply despicable,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of continuing to criminalize women, authorities in El Salvador must repeal the outdated anti-abortion law once and for all.”

    June 28, 2016

    Women in prison

    Women make up nearly 7% of the population in federal prisons (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad , 2016)

    The vast majority of women detained in federal prisons are first time offenders, mostly imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

    There is evidence to suggest that torture and other ill-treatment is used frequently against people accused of high-profile crimes that fall within the public security strategy of the so-called “war on drugs.” Of the 100 women interviewed by Amnesty International, 33% had been accused of being part of organized crime groups, 23% had been accused of narcotics crimes, 22% had been accused of kidnapping and 14% with illegal possession of firearms.

    The federal prison population is largely made up by people from low income backgrounds. Data on the federal prison system shows that 60% of women in prison did not complete high school. (CIDE, 2012)

    Of the cases Amnesty International documented for this report, most women earned between 1,000 and 5,000 pesos a month (approximately US$70 to US$300) with some earning much less.

    Torture against women

    June 23, 2016
    Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secetary-General, documents the Mexico Defensoras Delegation's visit to Ottawa on the eve of the Three Amigos summit. They came with an urgent message for Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama: Don't sweep Mexico's grave human rights crisis under the carpet!    The Mexico Defensoras Delegation are: Claudia Medina Tamariz- Breaking the Silence about Sexual Torture, Rompiendo el Silencio Brenda Rangel Ortiz - Justice for the Disappeared, Desaparecidos Justicia CA Marta Sanchez - Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano Pilar Arrese Alcaca - Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Centro Prodh   DAY 1
    May 27, 2016
    On 20 May 2016, Maria Teresa Rivera was finally freed from prison in El Salvador after a judge dismissed the charges against her. In 2011, she had been given a 40-year sentence after suffering a miscarriage. Thousands of people across the world rallied to her cause. This is her thank you message to everyone.  

    I want to thank everyone who supported me and who never left me alone, everyone who believed in me and always said that I was innocent even though you did not know me. This was very special to me.

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