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Women's Human Rights

    March 02, 2018

    Every single day, women human rights defenders in Canada and around the world advocate tirelessly for justice and equality. International Women’s Day is the ‘feminist new year’s celebration,’ a time to pause, take stock of achievements over the past year, reflect, and renew commitments to ensure the rights of women, transgender, and non-binary individuals are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    February 16, 2018

    Amnesty International is pleased to offer the acclaimed new Canadian documentary “A Better Man” to Amnesty supporters interested in organizing film screenings to further discussion and action to help end gender-based violence in Canada.

    The feature-length film documents the journey of Toronto-based activist and filmmaker Attiya Khan as she reconnects with the man she was in an intimate relationship with over 20 years prior. “A Better Man documents a personal experiment for me and my abusive ex-partner — a step towards understanding and accountability,” said Attiya. “By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse. I hope that sharing my personal search for justice and healing will contribute to the struggle to end domestic violence.”

     

    November 27, 2017
    Interested in the rights of women in China? Take action in support of Ni Yulan during the Write for Rights letter-writing marathon.

    By Lü Pin, Chinese Feminist Activist

    The tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men spurred millions of women to speak up online about their disturbing experiences.

    Ten years after African American activist Tarana Burke coined #MeToo after meeting a victim of sexual violence, the social media campaign is an unexpected victory for the women’s movement. Due to the bravery of these women the offenders may finally be held to account.

    November 24, 2017

    Women human rights defenders. Whether we’re defending the rights of women, girls and LGBTI folks, or advocating for land and environment, we’re more likely to be marginalized by government and within civil society movements. Our work is often less visible in the media, and the harassment and violence so many of us experience because of our activism happens far from the public eye. Too often we face challenges accessing justice and reparations for human rights violations we have experienced.

    As the global space for civil society to peacefully advocate in support of human rights shrinks, we face many of the same risks to our safety and security as our male counterparts. But in addition, we are targeted, stigmatized, and sometimes silenced because of who we are and what we do. Because we are women. Because we dare to challenge patriarchal structures, institutions and practices. Because our activism challenges traditional gender roles or stereotypes as we step into public spaces usually occupied by men.

    November 20, 2017

    New research by Amnesty International has revealed the alarming impact that abuse and harassment on social media are having on women, with women around the world reporting stress, anxiety, or panic attacks as a result of these harmful online experiences.

    The organization commissioned an IPSOS MORI poll which looked at the experiences of women between the ages of 18 and 55 in Denmark, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and USA.

    Nearly a quarter (23%) of the women surveyed across these eight countries said they had experienced online abuse or harassment at least once, ranging from 16% in Italy to 33% in the US. Alarmingly, 41% of women who had experienced online abuse or harassment said that on at least one occasion, these online experiences made them feel that their physical safety was threatened.

    “The internet can be a frightening and toxic place for women. It’s no secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this poll shows just how damaging the consequences of online abuse are for the women who are targeted,” said Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Technology and Human Rights.

    October 24, 2017

    “The judges of the Supreme Court have a chance to put right centuries of human rights abuse. We urge them to take it” – Grainne Teggart

    Amnesty International will be an intervenor in a significant Supreme Court case that starts today challenging Northern Ireland’s abortion law.

    The case will consider whether Northern Ireland law breaches women’s rights by not allowing abortions in cases of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormalities.

    Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said:

    “We cannot continue with the intolerable situation that treats women in Northern Ireland as second-class citizens, denying them healthcare and control over their own lives.

    “For generations, politicians in Northern Ireland have failed women and failed to protect their rights. It is time for the Supreme Court to step in and do what our government has failed to do – protect the long-neglected human rights of women and girls in a part of the UK.

    “The judges of the Supreme Court have a unique chance to put right centuries of human rights abuse. We urge them to take it. The time for change is now.”

    September 26, 2017

    Responding to the Saudi Arabian government’s announcement that women will be allowed to drive, Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “It is a testament to the bravery of women activists who have been campaigning for years that the government of Saudi Arabia has finally relented and decided to permit women to drive.

    “This is a long overdue small step in the right direction and we welcome this move if it means all women in Saudi Arabia will finally be able to drive without any restrictions.

    “If by June next year women in Saudi Arabia are driving the streets without fear of arrest, then this will be a cause for celebration. But it is just one step. We also need to see a whole range of discriminatory laws and practices swept away in Saudi Arabia including the guardianship system where every woman has a male guardian, be it their father, brother, husband or son, having authority to make decisions on her behalf.

    July 27, 2017
      The rape of a teenage girl ordered by a village council in ‘revenge’ for a rape allegedly committed by her brother is the latest in a long series of horrific incidents and must lead to urgent reforms, said Amnesty International today. While 20 people from a village council near Multan have been arrested for ordering the rape, Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and abolish so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes as revenge.   “Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and crack down on the so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes against women, often in revenge for acts committed by others. For far too long, there has been an indulgence of these unspeakably cruel practices,” said Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Campaigner.
    May 23, 2017

    A set of US laws which claim to promote maternal and infant health are in fact driving pregnant women away from vital health services, jeopardizing their wellbeing and violating their right to health, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    Criminalizing Pregnancy: Policing Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs in the USA, highlights the impact of pregnancy criminalization laws, especially those which are used to arrest and prosecute women who use drugs based on a belief that they are harming their fetuses. Fear of these laws is deterring pregnant women from accessing healthcare, prenatal care and even drug treatment.

    “Across the USA, the heavy-handed policing of pregnant women’s behaviour is shattering patient trust in health services with devastating consequences. These laws put pregnant women in a double bind, forcing them to choose between risking their health and risking punishment,” said Carrie Eisert, Policy Adviser at Amnesty International, who authored the report.

    May 13, 2017

    Narges Mohammadi is one of the most prominent human rights activists in Iran. Narges has campaigned in support of women’s rights and gender equality, run an organization calling for abolishment of the death penalty, served as president of the National Council of Peace in Iran, and is vice-president of the Center for Human Rights Defenders. She is a physicist, an engineer, and an avid mountain climber. She is also a prisoner of conscience serving a 22 year sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, and she desperately needs you to write a letter to Iranian authorities calling for her immediate and unconditional release.  

    Narges is 45 years old, and she has been in and out of prison for the past 20 years solely because of her peaceful activism. Her belief in justice and equality is so strong that she has continued to publicly advocate for justice and equality despite the risks. She has given up her liberty, is separated from her family, and her health is at risk.

    April 13, 2017

    Nigerian authorities must ramp up efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and thousands of others abducted across the northeast by Boko Haram, said Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the armed group’s chilling abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls.

    “Boko Haram continues to abduct women, girls and young men who are often then subjected to horrific abuses, including rape, beatings and being forced into suicide bombing missions. Sadly, many such abductions go unnoticed and unreported by the media. This has left many parents and relatives without any hope of being reunited with their loved ones,” said Interim Country Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Makmid Kamara.

    “These appalling abductions and other attacks, some of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are carried out by Boko Haram on an almost daily basis. They must stop. Today we remember and lend solidarity to the families of the Chibok girls as well as the thousands of other women, girls and men abducted, killed or displaced by Boko Haram.”

    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.

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