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Women's Human Rights

    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.

    May 06, 2016

     

    Fernanda Doz Costa, researcher on the Americas, reports from a protest outside a court in Argentina where “Belen” returns after being sentenced to eight years following a miscarriage.

    It was cold and grey the morning I arrived outside the courthouse in Tucumán city, northwest Argentina. Inside the court, a judge was delivering his reasons for why a woman known as “Belén” (not her real name) had been jailed after having a miscarriage.  

    Gradually the pavement where I was began to fill with colour. We were there to protest against Belén's conviction. Around me, flags bore slogans condemning gender discrimination. "This justice system is medieval", read signs amid the unmistakable green scarves of those campaigning for the decriminalization of abortion. There was even a replica "women's prison cell".

    When there was no more space on the pavement, demonstrators demanding Belén’s release blocked the road. Meanwhile the street band helped turn the feelings of anger and helplessness that had made us join this protest into an atmosphere of energy and unity.

     

    April 25, 2016

    Early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso is robbing thousands of girls as young as 13 of their childhood, while the cost of contraception and other barriers prevent them from choosing if and when to have children, Amnesty International said in a report published today. 

    Coerced and denied: Forced marriages and barriers to contraception in Burkina Faso exposes how many women and girls are threatened or beaten when they try to make their own decisions about when to marry or have children.

    “Far too many women and girls in Burkina Faso have no control over their lives: they are denied their right to choose if, when and with whom they marry and whether to have children,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

    “Once married, girls are expected to have children as soon as possible. Early pregnancies greatly increase the risk of girls dying or experiencing life-changing physical injuries. Very few have the chance to go to school or complete their education. 

    April 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  14 April 2016

    All those abducted by Boko Haram must be released and those whose lives have been devastated by the armed group must receive support and justice, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abduction of more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls.

    Activists from the organization will join #BringBackOurGirls demonstrations in Abuja and campaigners around the world to mark the anniversary and remember all those abducted, killed and displaced by the armed group.

    “Few of us can begin to comprehend the suffering of parents who have not seen their daughters for two years,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.

    “In addition to the Chibok schoolgirls, today we also remember all those abducted, killed and displaced. Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.”

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