FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images
By: Alice Dahle, Co-chair, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist
On December 24, the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) regulating the sale of conventional arms and ammunition will go into effect. The treaty will require that before authorizing a sale of arms and ammunition across international borders, governments must assess the risk that the weapons will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, undermine peace and security, or engage in transnational organized crime. If an exporting country knows there is an “overriding” risk that the arms will be used for these purposes, the sale is prohibited.
In another break-through, the ATT is also the first legally binding international agreement that makes the connection between the international arms trade and gender-based violence (GBV). Only recently has the gendered aspect of armed violence been recognized. During the drafting of the treaty, Amnesty International joined with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), and Oxfam to enlist the support of both governments and civil society for inclusion of a gender dimension in the treaty. As a result of these efforts, Article 7(4) of the ATT makes it mandatory for arms exporting countries to assess the risk that their weapons will be used in the commission of GBV and deny authorization of any sales that present an “overriding” risk. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Accused and charged with having an abortion after a miscarriage at 18 years old.
By Chloe Horsma, Amnesty International USA youth activist
Probably the greatest obstacle I’ve ever faced around my sexual and reproductive rights was a borderline-uncomfortable conversation with my mom when I wanted to look into birth control for the first time. Many of my friends had similar experiences. It seemed to me that this was how it was supposed to be–people making decisions about their own health and reproductive rights without hindrance or fear–and for a while, it escaped my notice that not everyone was so lucky. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Heather Schultz, Activist
When a woman or girl survives gender-based violence, you would think that she could expect justice. If she survives a rape, for example, you would think she could expect that the perpetrator would be prosecuted for his crime… not that he could marry her to avoid prosecution if she is under 18. Yet, this is exactly the law in Algeria and Tunisia. And in Morocco, the severity of punishment of the rapist depends not on his crime, but on whether the survivor was a virgin or not! SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By: Jihane Bergaoui, Amnesty International USA, Country Specialist for Morocco and the Western Sahara
This past week I traveled to Tunisia to watch my colleagues from Amnesty Tunisia hand deliver over 198,000 signed petitions from Amnesty International members worldwide, calling on the Tunisian authorities to end discrimination against women and girl survivors of sexual violence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
We all know how unfortunately easy it is to find innumerable instances of violence against women occurring on a daily basis in every part of the world. A three-year old rape survivor in Afghanistan, hundreds of abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria, the unsolved murder of 15 year-old María Isabel Veliz Franco in Guatemala, and astonishing rates of sexual violence in Egypt, to name a few.
Violence is horrific wherever it occurs and in whatever context. It is particularly abhorrent in the devastating impact it has on the lives of 1 in 3 women around the world. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Sometimes when I’m in a group of women, I find myself silently ticking us off by sets of three: one, two, three; one, two, three. Statistically, I know, 1 in 3 of us will be raped, beaten, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Such statistics can often ring hollow, but when I count off in my head, I’m thinking of real women; real lives; real suffering. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
While Morocco has amended a law that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims if they are younger than 18, there are still numerous legal and procedural ways in which it actively discriminates against women and girls (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).
This blog posting is part of a series Amnesty International USA is publishing to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Summit occurring August 4-6th, 2014. We are utilizing the series to highlight human rights concerns on the continent we feel critically need to be addressed during the summit discussions.
Contributed by Jihane Bergaoui, Amnesty International Country Specialist for Morocco and the Western Sahara
This week, President Obama will welcome nearly every African head of state to Washington, D.C. for the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. As one of America’s oldest and most strategically important allies, Morocco is expected to participate in the conference.
Morocco’s continuous efforts to appear as one of the region’s most stable and progressive countries provide human rights activists and U.S. government officials a unique opportunity to successfully pressure Morocco to end violence against women.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(Image: Facebook / Everytown for Gun Safety).
By Alice Dahle, Co-chair, Amnesty International USA Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
Twenty years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to protect women who face domestic and sexual violence, dating violence and stalking through legal and social services. Amnesty International has actively campaigned for this legislation and its re-authorization throughout its history. Last year, we celebrated passage of a stronger, more inclusive version of VAWA with new provisions added to protect Indigenous women, immigrant women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence and survivors of human trafficking.
We were excited to learn that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing today entitled VAWA Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence. With well-founded concern about gun violence in our country, the Committee’s recognition of the relevance of VAWA to violence against women is timely and much appreciated.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Salvadorian immigrant Stefany Marjorie, 8, holds her doll Rodrigo in Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of immigrant families and unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing a humanitarian crisis (Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)
Amnesty International welcomes the positive step of President Obama’s recent meeting with his counterparts from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala regarding the increasing number of children fleeing violence in those countries – with or without their parents.
It is extremely troubling, however, that President Obama continues to assert that his government will return the overwhelming majority of these children to the extreme violence that has driven them to make the dangerous journey to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Tarah Demant, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist
Each of us has autonomy over our own body: we all have the right to make our own decisions about our healthcare, reproduction, and sexual lives, and we should be able to do so without living in fear of violence or discrimination. No matter where you live, no matter who you are, it’s your body and your rights.
Yet far too many are deprived of the basic human rights over their own bodies, including the right to be free from violence, sexual, assault, and rape. Such violence against women is part of a global culture of discrimination, but in the Maghreb region of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, discriminatory legal provisions help enable rampant sexual violence against women and girls.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST