Today, during International Women's Day, we invite you to join our efforts to help stop violence against women. Your support can change the lives of the women featured in the following cases. Please take action to protect them.
Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, president of the Women's Assistance Center (CIAM), and staff at three CIAM shelters around Mexico, have received multiple death threats as a result of their work to protect the rights of women and girls. The threats are reportedly from men whose wives and/or children found refuge from domestic violence at the shelter and want them to return home.
At 4 a.m. on February 17, US soldiers and members of the Iraqi National Guard forced their way into the house of Huda Hafez Ahmad al-'Azawi, a businesswoman in Baghdad. They handcuffed and blindfolded her, and beat, handcuffed and blindfolded her two daughters, Nura aged 15 and Sarah aged 20. Her whereabouts are unknown and Amnesty International is concerned for her safety.
During the large-scale violence in Gujarat in 2002, some medical professionals were reported to have participated in violence against members of the Muslim minority and disregarded reports and obvious signs of sexual assaults of women in their care. Victims could not count on receiving medical assistance and cannot rely upon medical/forensic evidence when pursuing justice for the crimes perpetrated against them.
Urge the Government of Sudan to protect the women of Darfur from violence by the Janjawid militia. Ask that the Government to halt to attacks on women, bring perpetrators of sexual violence -- in particular members of the Janjawid militia -- to justice, and ratify international laws that protect women from sexual violence in conflict and publicly condemn all forms of gender-based violence in Darfur.
Since the July 1999 deployment of an international peacekeeping force to Kosovo and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), Kosovo has become a major destination country for women and girls trafficked into forced prostitution. It has been estimated that many hundreds of women and girls have been trafficked, including some as young as 12 years old.
HOW VIOLENCE AFFECTS WOMEN?
From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family. Every year, millions of women are raped by partners, relatives, friends and strangers, by employers and colleagues, security officials and soldiers. Women are the overwhelming majority of victims from violence inflicted in the home. During armed conflicts, violence against women is often used as a weapon of war, in order to dehumanize the women themselves, or to persecute the community to which they belong.
However, violence against women is never normal, legal or acceptable and should never be tolerated or justified. It's time to recognize that violence against women is a global human rights scandal that affects us all. Across the world, Amnesty International activists are working to work towards making women's human rights a reality.
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Rosa Del Angel
Amnesty International USA