Women’s Human Rights

UPDATE – June 2018

Saudi Arabia
Mideast Saudi Single Women, Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaAfter years of campaigning, women in Saudi Arabia will be finally allowed to legally drive on 24 June. But three women, Loujan Hathloul, Iman al-Nafnan and Aziza al-Yousef, who fought for this right have been arrested by Saudi authorities and detained with no access nor legal representatives in an unknown location . The women are leading campaigners in calling for women’s rights to drive, the end of discrimination against women and the abolition of the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia. Following their arrest, the Saudi media ran a smear campaign sharing pictures of them with the word ‘traitor’ stamped in red across their faces.

Amnesty International believes that these activists have been detained as punishment for their peaceful human rights work. Amnesty fears that they may be charged and tried by the notoriously unfair Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), which has been used to try human rights defenders and sentence them to very harsh prison sentences – up to 20 years. But none have been charged as yet so there is still time to take action to help these women. You can email the Saudi Arabia Embassy on the Amnesty website here.

Northern Ireland
Amnesty is celebrating the recent successful campaign in Northern Ireland to repeal an effective ban on abortion – 66.4% of voters in Ireland voted to end ban. However, there is still a near total ban on abortion in Northern Ireland. Amnesty believes that we still have to push for Northern Ireland’s laws to be brought in line with international human rights standards and to call for free, safe and legal access to fundamental reproductive healthcare. You can sign the online petition on the Amnesty website here.

Sudan
There is an online petition concerning Noura Hussein in Sudan. Noura was raped by the man she was forced to marry at sixteen years old. When Noura used a kitchen knife to protect herself when he tried to rape her again, she was arrested and charged with ‘intentional murder’ although she was defending herself from her rapist. Sudanese law doesn’t recognise marital rape and now, aged only nineteen, she faces execution for an act of self-defence. The online petition requests that the Sudanese authorities repeal the Death Penalty and allow her a retrial considering her mitigating circumstances.

Egypt
Amal Fathy is an Egyptian human rights activist who has been arrested for sharing her experience of sexual harassment on Facebook. She was arrested on 11 May 2018 for posting a video on FB condemning sexual harassment and criticising the Egyptian government for their inaction on this issue. Amnesty fears that she could be held in pre-trial detention for months even years. You can call for her immediate release using the Amnesty International online petition.

And finally… Women Making History campaign – this was very successful and you can check out highlights from the day on Instagram.

Find out more about other Women’s Human Rights issues here.

 

UPDATE – March 2018

Mother and Son at risk of imprisonment in North Korea

At our recent meeting, we signed letters to both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State Security in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea about Koo Jeong-hwa, (aged twenty-four years) who has been detained, along with her four year old son, in North Korea since 3rd December 2017. She is at risk of being sent to a political prison camp for life where she may be subject to torture and ill-treatment.

Koo Jeong-hwa was previously detained with eight other North Koreans in China; each person was sent back to their respective home town for investigation and detention. It is claimed that Koo Jeong-hwa committed treason by leaving her country – the punishment for those people over eighteen years old found guilty of treason is death.

People are crossing from North Korea to escape persecution for political or religious reasons – or due to the desperate need for food and work. The Chinese government considers North Koreans crossing the border without prior permission as irregular, economic migrants (not asylum seekers) and they are forcibly returned.

Up to 120,000 people have been detained in four known political prison camps where there is forced labour, torture and ill-treatment. The North Korean government deny their existence.

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