There is a rural area in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa where the maternal mortality rate more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Why are women so at risk for dying during childbirth in this province? The reasons are complex and inter-related but many factors can be addressed by the provincial Minister of Health. And we are demanding that he does. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Riot police in military gear in the streets, dispersing peaceful protestors gathered to address grievances with their government. Protestors threatened with weapons. Civil rights violated. Despite similarities to recent events in the US, I’m not talking about Ferguson. This is Zimbabwe.
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In early August, Obama hosts the first ever U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, D.C. Nearly every sitting head of state from the continent is invited to discuss primarily bilateral business opportunities through trade and investment. However, from the beginning, the White House stated the intent to also focus on human rights and good governance. It is time for Obama to honor that commitment. Help us urge the inclusion of civil society in all summit sessions.
Pat yourselves on the back, stamp your feet, give a (potentially) inappropriate shout of glee wherever you happen to be at this moment, or at the very least, indulge in a slow clap.
35,544 Amnesty USA activists stood with the women and girls in Mozambique who marched in the streets of Maputo to demand the revocation of a proposed revision to the criminal code allowing a rapist to avoid punishment if he married the survivor.
The Mozambique government listened and it has been removed from consideration!
Imagine if you reported a rape, only to discover the law is on the side of your rapist.
A couple months ago, we shared the story of Amina Filali, a 16-year-old girl in Morocco who was forced to marry the man who raped her. Months after being married, Amina committed suicide by swallowing rat poison. Amina’s death caused an outcry in Morocco and throughout the region.
In January, nearly two years after Amina’s death, the widely-criticized clause in Morocco’s Penal Code sanctioning the marriage was finally abolished.
But elsewhere in Africa, the struggle is far from over.
This month, Mozambique is considering draconian revisions to its criminal code that will allow accused rapists to escape punishment if they marry the sexual assault survivor.
To say this is a violation of the rights of the survivors is a gross understatement. The law not only minimizes the trauma of the survivor and ignores their rights to bodily integrity and not be subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane and and degrading treatment, it encourages impunity and escape from legal repercussions for heinous criminal violations.
The rights to freedom of assembly and expression are guaranteed in the Angolan Constitution. Nevertheless, the Angolan government has become increasingly oppressive against peaceful protesters, journalists, and opposition politicians.
A new generation of young Angolans have come together to speak out against the regime and call for political change. A wave of protests that began in early 2011 continues to thrive in the face of government restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression.
Remember those who feel forgotten. Stand with those who feel alone. Speak for those who have been silenced. Know that alone I have power; together we are invincible.
Amnesty USA was approached by the U.S. producers of the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom because, as Harvey Weinstein reiterated at the Washington, D.C. premiere, he felt it was critical the story of President Mandela be exposed to as many people as possible in the hopes of inspiring social activism to make positive change in the world. Since this is exactly what Amnesty does – urge people to take action to create change – it was a natural fit.
So, you may have heard there’s an election tomorrow in Zimbabwe. It’s been taking up a lot of my time recently as we gather information about the situation on the ground and talk with civil society organizations preparing for election observing.
Currently, the atmosphere is much as it was prior to the initial presidential and parliamentary elections of March 2008 – largely calm with some incidents of intimidation and violent clashes between political party supporters reported.
It wasn’t until after a contested run-off election for the presidency was announced for June 2008 that Amnesty documented the sharp increase in electoral violence – including at least 200 deaths and thousands tortured and displaced.
Since January 2009, the US State Department requires a comprehensive and holistic human rights agenda including pressuring for the recognition and protection of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the unconstitutionality of DOMA, it was great to see President Obama raise the issue in Senegal yesterday. I hope he continues to push the issue as he moves on to South Africa and Tanzania later this week.
In four African countries, homosexuality is punishable by death. But being killed by your government is often the least of the concerns of the LGBT community. In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered. That same year, Noxolo Nogwaza was raped, stabbed and beaten in South Africa-apparently based on her sexual orientation. Noxolo was a gay rights activist in her community. Her killer(s) have not been caught despite our pressure for a proper investigation of her murder. Currently, two men are in prison in Zambia facing criminal penalties, subjected to forcible anal examination by the government, on allegations of homosexuality.