Monday, April 26, 2010

News from Amnesty International, Canada. Is this new to you? Much of it was new to me. Why?

 [image is from here]
Also wanted for gynocide, pimping, 
starting sexual slavery and 
the international trafficking 
of women and girls of color
to white het men.
This poster could and should read: 

As is clear to many who do human rights work, who work to end violence against women, it becomes obvious, with a kind of never-ending re-introduction, that what U.S. white men know about the world, generally, is very little. We protect ourselves from feeling what the effects are of what we do. We block out, or sexually fetishise, our violence against other people. We pretend the world revolves around us. We worship a god who looks strikingly like us. This is woeful and wretched enough.

But that U.S. white men frequently proclaim ourselves the most knowledgeable people on Earth, as well as the smartest, the wisest, and the most politically and economically capable (cough), as well as the most moral, the most ethical, the most fair, the least criminal, the least diseased, the most honorable, the most honored, the most celebrated, and the most revered, what ought become clear, with increasing sharpness, is how full of shit white het men are about what they say about themselves as a group. And note: they have no opposition to being thought of a group when they misperceive THEIR rights being threatened. When they delusionally feel threatened, which is often, they organise, whether in White Nationalist groups or Men's Rights groups, to protect what's "theirs". That anything at all is "theirs" exclusively is only so due to white het men's illegal, corrupt, immoral, dishonorable, and utterly inhumane commitment to and committing of gynocidal and genocidal atrocities, to this day.

What follows is cross-posted from *here*.

SVAW demonstration at the 'Youth in Activism' event in Pokhara, 
Nepal 15-16 June 2007

Amnesty International and Women's Human Rights

Amnesty International regularly documents a range of violations of women’s human rights through reports, news releases, public statements, and letter writing actions. We work with women human rights advocates and like-minded organizations to encourage governments to enforce women’s human rights as defined in various international and regional human rights standards. This blog covers the full range Amnesty's concerns in the arena of human rights for women, including sexual and reproductive rights; violence in armed conflict, the community and the home; women human rights defenders; and protection of women’s economic, social and cultural rights.

Algeria: Investigate and prosecute attacks against women

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
Urgent action is needed by the Algerian authorities to investigate a series of attacks against women and to bring the perpetrators to justice, Amnesty International said today.

Over the past two months, women living in Hassi Messaoud – an oil-rich area 627km south-east of Algiers– in the “36 dwellings” and “40 dwellings” areas, are reported to have been the target of a spate of attacks by groups of unidentified young men. The attacks allegedly take place at night, when the groups (usually composed of five to six people) forcibly enter the homes of women, apparently in order to rob them. Women caught by the groups have been physically assaulted, including with knives, and have had their cellular phones and jewellery taken from them. There are also reports that some women have been sexually abused, including by being disrobed and verbally insulted, such as being called “prostitutes”.

Amnesty International is particularly alarmed that the attacks appear to have deliberately targeted women. Most of the women attacked had come to Hassi Messaoud to find work and either live alone, with other female relatives or with their children. There are concerns that single women are being targeted not just because they are women, but because they are living alone and are economically independent. It has been reported that the attacks were also motivated by the perceived failure of law-enforcement officials to provide effective protection and prosecute perpetrators.

Read the Public Statement

Bans on full face veils would violate international human rights law

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
Over the last few months there has been growing public debate in Europe on the wearing of full face veils, such as the burqa and the niqab, by Muslim women. Two countries, Belgium and France, are currently considering the adoption of legislation that would prohibit the wearing of full face veils.

Amnesty International believes that such general prohibitions on the wearing of full face veils would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who choose to wear a full face veil as an expression of their religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs.

Under international human rights law everyone has the rights to freedom of expression and freedom to manifest their religion or beliefs. States must therefore not impose generally applicable requirements that women dress or do not dress in a certain way, and they must protect women from the imposition of such requirements by third parties. It is wrong for women to be compelled to wear a headscarf or veil, either by the state or by non-state actors; it is also wrong for women to be prohibited by law from wearing it.

Read the News Release

Haiti’s emergency response must include protection from sexual violence

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
(Port-au-Prince) Thousands of women living in temporary camps around Haiti are threatened by sexual violence and have inadequate protection from any authorities, Amnesty International said today after concluding a three-week visit to the country.

Sexual violence is widespread across the hundreds of spontaneous camps that sprung up in the capital and other affected areas of Haiti following the massive earthquake that struck the country in January.

Amnesty International said that the lack of measures to prevent and respond adequately to the threat of sexual violence is contributing to the humanitarian crisis and urged the Haitian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to curb sexual violence and protect women living in the camps.

Read the News Release

Read the Facts and Figures

Take Action

Justine Masika Bihamba questions the effectiveness of Canadian aid for survivors of rape in DRC

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
In a recent article by Geoffrey York in the Globe and Mail, Justine Masika Bihamba, a human rights defender who works for the protection of women and girls from sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), questions the effectiveness of international programs to support survivors. 

Read the article

Of particular importance to Amnesty International is ensuring that survivors of sexual violence receive adequate support services, including health and psycho-social support, and that perpetrators of sexual violence are brought to justice in accordance with international standards.  Support for a justice system that adequately functions is essential to prevent sexual violence and provide redress for survivors.

Letter by AI Member Linda Murray: Still work to be done on behalf of women

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
Amnesty member Linda Murray responded to an article in the Kingston Whig Standard with respect to the need for celebrating International Women's Day and continuing to push forward for women's rights around the world.  In her words: "Honouring International Women's Day will always combine celebrating gains made with focusing on where the next challenges lie. It is a day for working together to improve conditions on the home front and to ensure that women worldwide gain the rights and freedoms most of us in Canada enjoy."

Thanks to Linda for this article.  Read the letter here.

Amnesty members in Barrie took action on International Women's Day!

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
From Fieldworker Marilyn McKnight:

The Barrie Amnesty International Action Circle participated in a well-attended community event on International Women's Day. This year the event was organized by the Women and Children's Shelter of Barrie and Calibri: Centre des femmes franchaphones of Simcoe County. The Barrie Action Circle members were guests along with many other non-profit groups in this region. The evening was a wonderful celebration with food, refreshments, local entertainment and interesting speakers.

The Barrie Amnesty International Action Circle highlighted the plight of indigenous women from Guerrero State in Mexico. We had maple-leaf shaped greeting notes, a letter and a petition highlighting the plight of Ines Fernandez Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantu. We also had letters written on the behalf of Mao Hengfeng and her work defending women’s reproductive rights in China, and another letter advocating for the safety of women and girls in Haiti.

In addition, we also had letters in support of Bill C-300, the corporate accountability legislation currently being reviewed by members of a Canadian Parliamentary Committee. We think that the success of this Bill is crucial to the well-being of women in developing countries.

In all, we mailed 69 letters and petitions as the result of our efforts on March 8. We also had many interesting discussions with the evening's participants.

Mexico: Indigenous human rights defender Obtilia Eugenio Manuel is in danger

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
On 6 March, Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, President of the Me'phaa Indigenous People's Organization (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me'phaa (OPIM)), received a written death threat at the offices of the OPIM in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero state.

After repeated threats and harassment, in April 2009 the Inter American Court of Human Rights issued a protection order on behalf of Obtilia Eugenia Manuel, her husband and her children as well as other members of the OPIM and other human rights defenders in Guerrero.

Take Urgent Action to call for her protection!

Chad: UN Mission mandate must be extended

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
The UN Security Council renewed the mandate of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) until 15 May 2010, despite the request by the government of Chad for the withdrawal of the Mission.  Amnesty International is calling for the Mission to be extended further to ensure, in particular the protection of civilians, including women and girls.

If MINURCAT is forced to withdraw, the level of violence, insecurity and grave human rights violations in Eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic will almost certainly increase substantially. Even with recent improvements, conditions in eastern Chad remain precarious for the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees and displaced Chadians who are living there in camps. A premature UN exit will expose them to further human rights abuses.

Read the news release

Urgent Action: Iran: Women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Karami detained in Evin Prison

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
Women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Karami has been detained in Evin prison in Iran's capital, Tehran, since 2 March. Amnesty International believes she is a prisoner of conscience, held because she campaigns for human rights. She is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Mahboubeh Karami has been a member of the Campaign for Equality since its foundation in 2006. The Campaign aims to end discrimination against women in Iranian law.

Mahboubeh Karami’s house in Tehran was raided by three security officials at 10pm on 2 March. Prior to her arrest, they searched the house and confiscated some of her personal belongings.

Mahboubeh Karami has been arrested four times before on similar charges. Each time, she was detained for several days before being released.  She was later acquitted of all charges.

Her arrest is part of a wave of arrests of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists which have been carried out since the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 2010, and which have stepped up since the start of March 2010. click for more...

IWD 2010 Film: "What if it was International Men's Day?"

Posted by: Lindsay Mossman
Photo Credit: A short film presented at the International Women's Day event in Ottawa, March 8, 2010.  The film is a parody on "International Men's Day".

As part of the Ottawa International Women's Day event, "I'm Still Not a Feminist, But...", this short film was shown.  The film asks: what if our roles were reversed? What if it was International Men's Day?

This film raises questions about women's rights and gender equality through a parody of the issues. It's funny how things might look different when you change perspective. Please welcome this segment from our favorite (imaginary) national news program. Over to you Petra Womansbridge....

View the Film

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