Kathryn Striffolino is the Crisis Prevention & Response Advocate at Amnesty International USA. She conducts research and advocacy on urgent human rights developments globally with an emphasis on leveraging scientific progress for human rights protection. She has served the Advocacy, Policy and Research Department at Amnesty International USA for over 5 years and has conducted field work in Africa and Latin America. She has a background in political science and international affairs and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Author RSS Feed Follow @katiestriff on Twitter
There has been an overwhelming amount of global support over the past few weeks for Beatriz and those in El Salvador working tirelessly on her behalf to save her life. Much of this support has emerged online via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other outlets. Because of these digital tools, countless people are closely following events unfold in El Salvador and calling on the authorities to uphold their international human rights obligations by immediately granting Beatriz authorization for an abortion.
Will Salvadoran authorities listen to Beatriz’s plea and take action to save her life in accordance with her wishes and at the advice of the medical professionals caring for her?
Women’s human rights activists gather in El Salvador to demand Beatriz is granted the life-saving treatment she needs (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).
By Kathryn Striffolino, Crisis Prevention and Response Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @katiestriff.
As you’re reading this, the Salvadoran authorities are STILL biding their time discussing the merits of Beatriz’s case, the young mother we posted about earlier this month. While she’s in the hospital experiencing early stage kidney failure, the authorities are holding the key to her life that is quickly fading.
We’ve promised updates on this case. Unfortunately, we know that Beatriz has been subjected to another week of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and have no news regarding action by the authorities to save her life – in accordance with her wishes, and the recommendation of the health professionals responsible for her care.
Imagine you are in a hospital. You have lupus and you are experiencing kidney complications as a result. You have a one-year old son at home who was delivered by cesarean section weeks early because of pregnancy-related health complications. You’re pregnant again, and have been diagnosed as high-risk.
You found out after three sonograms your fetus is anencephalic, meaning that a portion of the fetus’s brain - consisting mainly of the cerebral hemispheres including the neo-cortex - doesn’t exist. With very few exceptions, fetuses with anencephaly do not make it to term and none survive infancy.
As you may have read recently on this blog, Beatriz from El Salvador is 4.5 months pregnant and suffers from lupus and other medical conditions, including kidney disease related to lupus. She also suffered serious complications during her previous pregnancy, resulting in her being deemed at high-risk of maternal mortality should this pregnancy progress. Three scans of her fetus have confirmed it is anencephalic (lacking a large part of the brain and skull). Almost all babies with anencephaly die before birth or within a few hours or days after.
Click to explore some emblematic human rights cases throughout the Americas, many of which have been positively influenced by the Inter-American System. These were taken from Amnesty International’s report “Transforming Pain into Hope: Human Rights Defenders in the Americas” (Photo Credit: Katie Striffolino via ArcGIS).
By Kathryn Striffolino, Crisis Prevention & Response Advocate. You can follow her on Twitter @katiestriff
On September 22, 2012, Honduran human rights lawyer Antonio Trejo Cabrera was killed. Gunmen shot him five times outside a wedding ceremony in a southern suburb of the capital, Tegucigalpa. Antonio Trejo Cabrera had reported receiving death threats linked to his work representing the victims of human rights abuses amidst the ongoing land conflict in the Bajo Aguán region of Honduras. Antonio Trejo Cabrera had been a lawyer for three peasant cooperatives embroiled in the complex land-rights dispute in Bajo Aguán. He had helped campesino communities to regain legal rights to land in the valley and was due to travel to Washington, D.C. in October 2012 to take part in hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
One of the recurrent challenges associated with utilizing social media outlets to report and monitor a situation during a period of time when ground events may or may not be rapidly developing (such as in Kenya): the situation is often times much more complex than 140 characters can convey, and the incorrect use of just a few words, could easily become an overflow of ingredients to an already bubbling human rights situation (Photo Credit: Till Muellenmeister/AFP/Getty Images)
By Kathryn Striffolino, Crisis Prevention and Response Advocate. You can follow her on Twitter @katiestriff.
Like many others, I have been closely watching the Kenyan elections. In fact, these elections may be the most “watched” elections ever. I am not necessarily talking about observers on the ground. Digital tools, including social media outlets, have greatly enhanced remote monitoring capability, and have emerged as a major component in the Kenyan elections.
By Kathryn Striffolino, Advocate and Science for Human Rights Project Coordinator at Amnesty International USA
Mali is currently facing its most serious humanitarian and human rights crisis since its independence in 1960, with myriad rights abuses rampant, amounting to what may become charges of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. Cue the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Syrian women demonstrate against President Bashar al-Assad's regime KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images
First, the welcome news: a new tool was launched last week by the Women’s Media Center’s project, Women Under Siege, to track sexual violence committed against women in Syria. Using Ushahidi technology, this project uses crowdsourcing to collect and map evidence of sexual violence, in real time or as close to real time as the “crowd” would like. Survivors, witnesses, and first-responders can submit reports via email, Twitter (using #RapeinSyria) or directly via the site.
Collecting this type of data is vital toward ensuring accountability for human rights crimes related to sexual violence, especially in conflict settings where human rights monitors may be unable to gain access. By highlighting the issue to the public and policy-makers, by empowering women and girls with a tool to share their stories, and by compiling reports of crimes related to sexual violence which are incredibly under-reported as it is, new technological tools allow us to see through the fog of war and send a strong message to perpetrators of violence—your crimes will not go unnoticed. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The one topic we didn’t discuss out rightly (for good reasons) was that Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had recently returned to Haiti, that he still has a network of supporters, and that he has not been held accountable for his alleged crimes — including torture, disappearances, and killings — committed during his 15 year reign. Crimes for which it not appears he will not be held to account for.
A historic Mexican Supreme Court decision to ensure soldiers accused of human rights abuses against civilians be tried in civilian – not military – courts may bring Mexico closer to respecting human rights and fulfilling their Merida Initiative obligations.
In 2008, the Merida Initiative security assistance package was signed by then-US President George W. Bush. This unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico aims to fight organized crime and associated violence while respecting human rights.
After she moved into a makeshift shelter in Dessalines Square, Champ-de-Mars, Haiti, “Suzie” and her friend were gang raped in front of their shelter.
“After they left I didn’t do anything….I don’t know where there is a clinic offering medical treatment for victims of violence.”
Because she was blindfolded, Suzie didn’t go to the police because she didn’t know who the men were that raped her. She told Amnesty International that the police patrol the streets, but she’s never seen them inside the camp.
In the Haitian camps there are many women and girls like Suzie. It is therefore vitally important that both the international community and the Haitian government take immediate action to treat the issue of violence against women as a priority for the humanitarian and reconstruction effort in Haiti. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.