Portrait of Teodora Vasquez at her prison in El Salvador. She had been sentenced for 30 years after having an stillbirth out of suspicions of having had an abortion.
By Linda Veazey, AIUSA Board Member
In 1998, El Salvador outlawed abortion under any circumstances, including cases where the life or health of the woman is at risk; where pregnancies are the result of rape or incest; and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities. El Salvador’s total ban violates the human rights of thousands of women and girls.
In cases like Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, some women have even been sentenced to several decades in prison even though they did not have an abortion! In 2008, Teodora was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “aggravated homicide” after suffering a still-birth at work. Amnesty found that Teodora was presumed guilty after she received an unfair trial in which her family could not afford effective legal representation. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Central American migrants walk over the tracks to catch the train north, Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, Mexico, 28 June 2009.
By Esmeralda López and Adotei Akwei
Urias (a 32-year-old mother from Usulután Province, El Salvador) says ICE agents showed up at the door of her apartment in Atlanta at 11 a.m. Sunday, but she wouldn’t let them in. Then they called her and said they were actually there because her ankle monitor was broken. So she opened the door. Once inside, they told her to get her kids together and go with them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, one of 12 cases in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign this fall, has been in prison since 2008 because she suffered a still-birth.
Teodora still has 23 more years to serve out of a 30-year prison sentence, which is supported by El Salvador’s draconian abortion law. El Salvador has a total ban on abortion, meaning that abortion is illegal even if a woman’s or girl’s life or health is at risk, if the fetus is not viable, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
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Ireland, El Salvador, and Chile share a deplorable commonality — the governments of all three countries have enacted draconian and harmful abortion laws that put women’s and girls’ lives at risk. Today, on September 28th, the Global Day of Action to Decriminalize Abortion, we join with people and organizations around the world to demand an end to these dangerous laws. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
© AFP PHOTO/ JOSE Cabezas
By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International in Mexico @josefinasalomon
It was the most difficult day of her life.
On the morning of 5 September 2010, Mirna Solórzano stood in front of a cargo plane in San Salvador’s airport, watching as soldiers unloaded a coffin. They said it contained the remains of her daughter, Glenda.
The 23 year old had been murdered alongside another 71 men and women in the Mexican town of San Fernando, in Tamaulipas, near the border with Texas, a few weeks earlier on 22 August.
Most were attempting to cross Mexico hoping to reach the USA and find jobs that would help them support their relatives back home. But the journey is known to be one of the most dangerous in the world, with those traveling routinely facing abductions, torture and death. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Following a wave of violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly has passed a law establishing increased penalties for hate crimes. Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Director for the Americas, emphasized that this law “should be a catalyst for a series of concrete measures to stop the alarming and growing wave of attacks against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transexual community, who suffer grave threats and abuses on a daily basis.”
Some recent examples of violence against the LGBT community include: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Jandira Queiroz, activism and mobilization advisor at AI Brazil at the Paraguayan consulate, Rio de Janeiro, delivering signatures for pregnant 10-year-old girs case. (Photo Credit: Anistia Internacional Brasil)
By Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International
It was a situation almost too heart-wrenching to comprehend. In April this year came the news from Paraguay that “Mainumby” (not her real name) then a 10-year-old girl, had become pregnant after she was repeatedly raped, allegedly by her stepfather. The girl had been taken to hospital several times in a four-month-period before the pregnancy was discovered.
After finding out the horrific news, Mainumby’s mother, whose legal complaint against her daughter’s abuser had fallen on deaf ears, made a request to the authorities to allow her daughter to have an abortion. But the government refused it, and instead moved the girl into a home for young mothers.
The reason? Paraguay, like many other countries in Latin America, has some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws – where terminating a pregnancy is only allowed if the life of the pregnant woman is at risk. Authorities decided this case did not fall under the exception, despite the risk that a pregnancy poses to such a young girl’s physical and mental health.
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(Photo Credit: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images).
By Adotei Akwei and Larissa Peltola*
After months of anticipation by the global community, the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 finally arrived on June 25, a mere six months into 2015. This beguiling page-turner, which provides us with a summary of the state of human rights around the world, highlights virtually every country yet somehow manages to gloss over, or omit altogether, the human rights violations occurring in the United States (#closeGuantanamo).
Amnesty International USA, along with several other human rights groups, continues to welcome the reports as a potentially valuable roadmap to guide U.S. foreign policy. They offer a detailed look at the human rights situation in particular countries and often indicate developing political and human rights crises, but sadly, they have historically been ignored by the very government that produces them.
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that human rights are a priority of its foreign policy. If that is the case, then we urge the administration to look at the reports of the countries flagged below and assess whether those countries should be receiving security or financial assistance, or whether supporting governments that treat people so poorly is a sensible investment of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.
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Thanks to everyone who took part in the very urgent social media action to free Guadalupe!
Guadalupe is one of 17 Salvadoran women who were sentenced to 12 to 40 years in prison after suffering miscarriages. The only legal option left for these women is a pardon. Last week, the Salvadoran National Assembly failed to approve a pardon for Guadalupe by just one vote. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Women during a march to commemorate UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (Photo: ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
Until now, the Dominican Republic was one of the few nations with a complete ban on abortion. The law did not allow exceptions for the health and safety of the woman; rape or incest; or severe fetal abnormality. That changed on December 19, when President Danilo Medina put into effect a new Criminal Code that allows abortions under the above-mentioned circumstances.
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