Women on the frontline for human rights

Amnesty International
10 December 2009

Women on the frontline for human rights

Women often bear the brunt of poverty and human rights abuses; but as activists they use these roles to trigger positive social change. To mark World Human Rights Day, Amnesty International spoke to three women who put their lives on the line in defence of human rights.

Women are affected by poverty, violence and human rights violations more than men because of the discrimination they face the world over. Over 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women. Women earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income but do two thirds of the world’s work.

Three quarters of the world’s illiterate are women. Women produce up to 80 percent of the food in developing countries but own only one percent of the land.

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Bring justice to the women of Atenco in Mexico

Last month, the Mexican Supreme Court confirmed that women in San Salvador Atenco suffered major physical and sexual abuse at the hands of police officers. But even with the affirmation of the highest court in Mexico, the women in Atenco are still waiting for these officers to be held accountable for their crimes.

The current Attorney General of Mexico, Eduardo Medina-Mora, remains suspiciously silent on this case that his office is responsible for handling. But it doesn’t take much investigating to find out why: At the time of the attacks, Medina-Mora was in charge of the same police officers who were implicated in the assaults. Any real investigation into the attacks and arrests could surely place significant blame squarely on his shoulders.

If securing justice continues to rely on Attorney General Medina-Mora, then the police officers guilty of brutally beating and raping the women in Atenco will remain free to roam the streets, a threat to those they’re meant to protect.

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Legislative Activists Needed

By Dan Johnson, Group 48 Legislative Coordinator*

The past few weeks have resulted in two excellent opportunities for Oregonians to take action on human rights. The causes are compelling, and we know that our elected officials will listen. To those of you who have participated in the past, it would be wonderful to have your assistance again in these campaigns. To those of you who have never been involved in legislative action, this is a wonderful opportunity to get your feet wet!

Counter Terror with Justice

As many of you are aware, Amnesty International has been working constantly to halt the human rights abuses committed in the United States of America as a result of the War on Terror. The shift in national policy to disregard international treaties, fundamental human rights, and basic human decency inspired a wave of emotions and constant campaigns. We worked to guarantee lawful treatment of detainees, the cessation of extraordinary rendition, the defense of habeas corpus, and the release of those detained without charge.

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