Why We Need to Address Gender-Based Violence, Now More Than Ever

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By Helena Klassen, Identity and Discrimination Intern and Nicole van Huyssteen, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” (16 Days) campaign, originated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). The campaign takes on a specific theme each year, which is determined by consulting with the many international human rights groups working to end gender-based violence (GBV). By calling upon individuals and organizations around the world to take action against GBV, the 16 Days campaign has had a significant impact and great success in building support of and activism for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls for more than two decades.   SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What happens to deported Central Americans?

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Amnesty International’s new report, Home Sweet Home? Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador’s Role in a Deepening Refugee Crisis, documents the incredible levels of violence and impunity that are driving tens of thousands of people from these countries (known as the Northern Triangle of Central America) to flee their homes and seek asylum in the United States and Mexico.

It also investigates what happens to those Central Americans who are sent back to their countries of origin—often without receiving a fair hearing regarding the threats to their lives. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this information: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Why are these heroes treated like criminals?

People attend the funeral of murdered indigenous activist Berta Caceres, in La Esperanza, 200 km northwest of Tegucigalpa, on March 5, 2016. Honduran indigenous activist Berta Caceres, a renowned environmentalist whose family has labeled her killing an assassination, was shot dead on March 3 at her home in La Esperanza. Caceres rose to prominence for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against a hydroelectric dam project that would have flooded large areas of native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.  AFP PHOTO / ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP / ORLANDO SIERRA        (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

People attend the funeral of murdered indigenous activist Berta Caceres, in La Esperanza, 200 km northwest of Tegucigalpa, on March 5, 2016. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Many people have heard of the March 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmental and indigenous rights leader in Honduras, and the many threats that proceeded her death. They may not know, however, that the Honduran authorities had falsely charged Cáceres with inciting usurpation of land, coercion, and damages against the company building the hydo-electric damn opposed by her organization, the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in 2013. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Just Off-Screen in Rio, a Community’s Homes Vanish in Olympic Shadow

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By Robyn Shepherd, Deputy Press Secretary, AIUSA

When you watch the Olympics this week, you will see plenty of Postcard Rio in between events. You’ll see the stunning natural beauty of the mountains that shoot dramatically up from the sugar sands of the coast. You’ll see people strolling the tiled seaside sidewalks in Copacabana. You’ll see shots of carefree Cariocas – residents of Rio – dancing to samba music or perusing colorful marketplaces.

Were those postcard camera views to pan out just a bit more, you would see a fence dividing the tennis and aquatics complexes from what looks like a weedy patch of ground on a lagoon dotted with a few homes – some intact, some gouged apart by bulldozers. The gleaming Olympic media center literally throws a shadow over the area. Welcome to the once-thriving community of Vila Autodrómo. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

10 Killings: The Tragic Story of the Barrios Family in Venezuela

LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Image

LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Image

By Alex Roche, writer and campaigner

Imagine that one day your brother is at home with his two sons. Police enter his house, beat him and take him away, handcuffed. Imagine that later that day, he is taken to hospital, already dead, with gunshot wounds to his chest and stomach.

Now imagine that five years later another brother of yours is shot several times in the head and killed by the police, in the presence of your nephew. The following year, yet a third brother of yours is shot and killed, after having been threatened earlier that day by a policeman.

Hard to imagine, right? Well, this is not all. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

5 Things I Learned at Argentina’s #NiUnaMenos March against Femicide

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Credit: Trak Producciones

by Magdalena Medley, Thematic Specialist – Women’s Human Rights Co-Group at Amnesty International USA

On June 3, 2016, Argentinians took to the streets for a second time to tell their government “ni una menos” – meaning “not even one less (woman)” – demanding an end to femicide and increasing levels of violence against women in the country.

In 2015, when the first Ni Una Menos demonstration took place in my homeland of Argentina, I covered it from New York City. I wanted to be a part of this important time in my country’s history, even if only from overseas. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Attempts to Interfere with High Profile Trial in Guatemala

Rosario Godoy de Cuevas speaks into a megaphone at a demonstration at a GAM in Guatemala, 1985.  Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM; Mutual Support Group) support group for families whose relatives had "disappeared".

Rosario Godoy de Cuevas speaks into a megaphone at a demonstration at a GAM in Guatemala, 1985. Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM; Mutual Support Group) support group for families whose relatives had “disappeared”.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in response to the June 21 raid of Impunity Watch’s office in Guatemala. Three armed men forced their way into the office and then blindfolded the organization’s secretary and covered her mouth with duct tape before ransacking the files.

The Dutch NGO has been assisting the family of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, the victim of an enforced disappearance in 1981. It’s offices were raided two days before the scheduled start of a trial against four high-ranking retired military officers for this crime. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Salvadoran Authorities Want to Send Maria Teresa Back to Jail

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of "Las 17" group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of “Las 17” group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

Maria Teresa Rivera’s recent release from prison was a major victory for women’s rights in El Salvador. Nonetheless, the nation’s Attorney General has said he intends to appeal the decision overturning her conviction. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

El Salvador – Maria Teresa thanks supporters after release from jail

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of "Las 17" group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of “Las 17” group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.

By Maria Teresa Rivera

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.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Call on U.S. Congress to Lift Embargo Against Cuba

HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 20:  U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive at Jose Marti International Airport on Airforce One for a 48-hour visit on March 20, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.   Mr. Obama's visit is the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting president, the last one being Calvin Coolidge.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Matt Kennis, AIUSA Board of Directors

President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba in March marked a key turning point in U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. The president’s visit follows a series of efforts made by the Clinton and Obama Administrations to remove sanctions against Cuba. Although strides have been made to strengthen diplomatic relations, the economic embargo against Cuba still stands and continues to undermine human rights in Cuba. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST