Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in 150 countries and terrorities who
campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
My Body My Rights campaign
We all have the right to make decisions about our own health, body, sexuality and reproductive life, without fear, coercion, violence or discrimination. But all over the world, people’s freedom to make these decisions is controlled by governments, medical professionals, event their own families.My Body My Rights campaign is AmnestyInternational’s global campaign to stop the control and criminalisation of sexuality and reproduction by governments and others. Over 2014-2015, we are working for real change in people’s lives in Nepal, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Ireland.
Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) works in solidarity with women’s organisations in Central America, supporting them to defend their rights, fostering links between women’s organisations in the United Kingdom and Central America and raising awareness of the concerns of Central American women amongst the public, NGOs and policy makers.
“Poverty is an issue of women’s organisations but we must change the technical discussion of poverty into a political discourse. It is essential to empower women for them to come out of poverty.” – Mirta Kennedy, CEMH – Honduras
“Women need to be empowered with knowledge that will be tools in the search for alternative survival strategies in a globalised world.” – Mabel Aguirre, MEC – Nicaragua
Abortion is criminalised throughout Central America. El Salvador and Nicaragua have the most stringent bans on abortion, which allow for no exception for cases of rape, incest, threat to the mother’s health or severe foetus abnormality – not even to save a woman’s life in immediate risk. Honduras and Guatemala share similar legislations although emergency abortion – to save the mother’s life – is permitted.
Working in partnership with the Citizens Group for the Decriminalisation of the Therapeutic, Ethic and Eugenesic Abortion (ACDATEE) in El Salvador and with Grupo Venancia in Nicaragua we conduct advocacy on behalf of our partners in British and European policy-making forums.
CAWN also disseminates calls for solidarity from the region and raise awarness among the public of the difficult situation women face in Central America in the mainstream and alternative media as well as through research and publications like our most recent one:
- Maternal Health, Reproductive Rights and the Criminalizations of Abortion in Central America. September 2012.
HYSTERIA aims to combat the punishing patriarchal language by placing the feminised subjects on centre stage allowing them to showcase a spectrum of expression.
HYSTERIA strives to expose power relations and insists on the equality of all, through a continuous discussion on what equality entails, refusing to settle on a rigid definition.
HYSTERIA is critical towards the notion of ‘safe space’ since ‘safe spaces’ only exist in the liberal illusion that veils the oppressive patriarchy. HYSTERIA strives to unsettle such illusions to shake the guise of normalcy that enables power structures to operate and thrive.
HYSTERIA believes that feminisms are of universal concern and not reserved for a selected few. Feminisms should be spread across discussions between all walks of life.
HYSTERIA harbours multiple streams of feminisms. This is a direct outcome of the webs of distinct and overlapping feminist narratives of struggles and oppresion.
HYSTERIA starkly opposes the belief-systems that have generated the fantasy of feminisms as properties and commodities and holds that these ideas reproduce marginalisation, deprivation and inequality.
Without hysterical solidarity we become deluded by the composure of patriarchy
My Belly is Mine was set up early this year by British prochoice activists to support Spanish women in their fight against the proposed reform to Spain’s current abortion law. Indeed, the campaign was born just days after the Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruíz Gallardón announced the “Draft Organic Law on the Protection of the life of the unborn and the rights of the pregnant woman”. This draft bill ensures abortion is illegal in except in very exceptional circumstances: in the case of rape, serious foetal deformity or if the pregnancy presents a serious mental or physical health risk to the mother. It is a law that 80% of Spaniards (and this includes Popular Party voters) do not support. It is a law which Amnesty International launched an urgent appeal to halt and which it describes as “discriminatory and retrogressive, and fl[ying] in the face of Spain’s international human rights obligations”.
My Belly is Mine has had a busy year: we have echoed the major protests in Spain against the law and teamed up with the Spanish Women’s Assembly and Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A to run an intense summer campaign intended to raise awareness of the draft bill and to increase international political pressure.
Every woman should be able to choose if she wants children, and when and with whom she has them. My Belly is Mine believes a woman’s complete control over her own body is the very foundation of women’s liberation and an important step to true equality. We stand in solidarity with women in Spain and defend their right to safe abortion. Check out our blog here.
Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A seeks to challenge the ongoing problem of Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion. We operate against the shaming and silencing of women living in the north and south of Ireland who have had abortions in England. The name Imelda was used as a code-name by the approximately 6,000 women who travelled to England for abortions between 1986 and 1995. The code-name was necessary since the Information Cases in the Republic of Ireland in 1986 made it a criminal offence to travel abroad for an abortion and to provide information and referrals for abortion services.
Since 1995, an average of 12 women a day have continued to travel from Ireland, north and south, to England for abortions. Apart from the considerable expense and stress of having to travel abroad for a medical procedure, these women are often denied follow-up after-care. In addition, in 2013, the Republic of Ireland implemented a 14-year prison sentence for women who have abortions in Ireland illegally. This has dire consequences for women who take pro-abortive medication because they cannot afford to travel or are not permitted to leave the country.
We want women in the north and south of Ireland, and women across the world, to have control over their own bodies and access to safe and legal medical services to support their choices. In speaking the name I.M.E.L.D.A. we wish to act in solidarity with those who seek to counteract the inhumanity of state legislation, which denies women bodily autonomy and integrity, as horrifically illustrated by the recent case of Miss Y/Migrant X.
To date, our actions have included:
- Executing performance-based, direct actions and promoting these on Facebook, Twitter and traditional media in Ireland and globally, including:
- Performing at the demo of the treatment of migrant X, the Irish Embassy, London on 20 Aug 2014.
- Interrupting a conference for Irish Catholics in London;
- Protesting during the recent state visit of Irish President, Michael D. Higgins to Britain (April 2014);
- Challenging the English Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, regarding a recent English High Court ruling denying women in Northern Ireland access to free abortions under the NHS.
- Collaborating with pro-choice groups in Ireland and globally. For example:
The 15M London Women’s Assembly is a woman only collective which arose from the London based 15M movement, a movement made up of Spanish economic migrants disenchanted and angry with the corruption and the economic and social outlook of their native country. The Women’s Assembly was formed two years ago and they meet periodically at the Barbican Centre. The Assembly is a space for feminist reflection, debate and dialogue. It is a space in which women can listen, share and learn from the experience of other women. Topics they have discussed and organised workshops around include: gender, empowerment, sorority, female sexuality, queer theory etc. But the Assembly is also made up of activists. Indeed this summer, the Assembly and Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A. joined forces with British prochoice campaigners My Belly is Mine to protest against the impending antiabortion law in Spain. This is not the first time Spanish, Irish and British prochoice activists have come together. Indeed, there is a history of these three nationalities working together in London in the 80s, which we will be exploring in our event on Saturday 27th.