Sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls in Nicaragua will be one of the priorities for AIUK

*Posted by Frances*

At the recent AIUK AGM in Belfast I attended a workshop on Nicaragua and the work AIUK are undertaking to campaign for the rights of women and girls at risk of sexual violence there. You may remember the recent Amnesty International report, Listen to their voices and act, as well as my discussion of the report here.

There is also an opportunity to take action for women and girls in Nicaragua on the AIUK website.

 The AGM confirmed that as part of AIUK’s 50th birthday celebrations, sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls in Nicaragua will be one of the priorities for AIUK. As such, there will be a ‘butterfly’ solidarity action where messages written on butterfly shaped paper will be sent to campaign groups in South America and the Caribbean in time for 28th September – the Day for decriminalisation of abortion in Latin

 America and the Caribbean, which will also see a series of protests and demonstrations in the region against the criminalisation of abortion.

Amnesty International campaign for the right to abortion in certain situations, for example, in circumstances of rape, incest, sexual violence or where the mother’s health is at risk.

2007 saw the election of Nicaraguan President, Ortega, during which time negotiations for power became difficult and prohibition of abortion a bargaining chip within this. As such abortion is now prohibited under any circumstance in Nicaragua – a marked step back from the stance only a year previously.  

Coupled with the prevalence of rape, incest and sexual violence against women and girls, as documented in Amnesty’s report, the situation for many women and girls is very stark. Two thirds of reported rapes involve girls under the age of 17, who are often stigmatised, blamed or disbelieved. This new law sends a clear message that survivors of rape must live with the consequences of violence against them without any choice.

The new law also affects the health of young women and girls in Nicaragua. Women and girls across the country are being denied life saving treatment if they are pregnant at the same time, and doctors are often very limited in how they are allowed to deal with any complications during pregnancy as they could be criminalised if their actions result in the death of the foetus.  

At a time when AIUK celebrates 50 years of human rights activism it seems only right that we should campaign against situations which seem to buck the trend towards progress in such a clear way. Look out for local stalls and events in your area where you can support the ‘butterfly’ campaign.

Thank you for reading :)

Frances  

 

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