Amnesty International launches global campaign to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights - a 'cancer' and 'human rights atrocity'

Speaking at a press conference in London, Irene Khan said:

'Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is a human rights atrocity. From the battlefield to the bedroom, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are at risk. Governments are failing to address the real 'terror' of our world that millions of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights face every day.'

Publishing a new report outlining the endemic scale and urgency of the problem, Amnesty International emphasised that at least one in three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the world will suffer serious violence in their lifetime.

The 122-page report, It's in our hands - Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, shows that whether in times of peace or war, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are being subjected to atrocities simply because they are Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. The report challenges governments to act - both to enact new laws and enforce existing ones that are often ignored - to prevent millions of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights being beaten, raped, murdered, assaulted, mutilated and even denied the right to ever exist.

The human rights organisation is highlighting the true scale of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights - from rape in conflict zones to conflict in the family - and calling for urgent action to prevent further deaths, injuries and discrimination.

'Cultural' practices such as female genital mutilation (already affecting 135 million girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights globally, with two million more at risk every year) and so-called 'honour' killings (thousands of deaths in dozens of countries every year) are major factors in violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights around the world, and Amnesty International is calling for these to be generally acknowledged and treated as human rights crimes.

The human rights organisation's campaign is insisting that 'living in safety is a universal right, not a privilege' for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Cases highlighted by Amnesty International include:

  • Kavira Muaulu (Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Kavira, a farmer in her 50s, was raped in May 2003 by a soldier who broke into her home near a military camp in Mangangu, near Beni in north-Kivu province in Congo. After she lodged a complaint against the perpetrator he returned with other soldiers, seized her in her fields, tied her up and beat her, knocking out a tooth and injuring her jaw. The rapist had been ordered by his military commander to pay Kavira three US dollars in compensation, an order that was ignored. Kavira persisted with her complaints to a local district governor. Soldiers returned and bayoneted Kavira in the stomach. Kavira's case is not unusual. The UN estimate that 5,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in south-Kivu were raped in the five months to February 2003 alone, averaging 40 rapes a day.
  • Fatima (Iraq))
    Fatima (not her real name), 19-years-old, was shot in the legs by her husband in May 2003 after she tried to leave an abusive situation and return to her own family. Fatima was married at the age of 12, treated as a servant and regularly beaten in her husband's family home. Numerous people witnessed the shooting. However, no action has been taken against the husband, even after Fatima was treated in hospital for her injuries.

Irene Khan said:

'Violence threatens Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in multiple forms during conflict. From the female child soldiers who are routinely raped by their own troop, and the civilian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls who are mutilated, raped and murdered as a weapon of war, to the escalation in violence in the family as troops return home - armed conflict is having a devastating and desperate impact on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights that goes far beyond the inherent violence of war.'

Up to 70 per cent of the world's female murder victims are killed by male partners, and Amnesty International is linking violence in the family (often called 'domestic violence') with other harmful community-based practices and acts of violence that see girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights being abused and killed on every continent.

Irene Khan said:

'Behind closed doors and in secret, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are subjected to violence by their partners and close relatives, too ashamed and afraid to report it and seldom taken seriously when they do.'

In the UK, for example, violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the family is at crisis point, with one call to the emergency services a minute and two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights killed every week. Recent statistics show that less than three in 100 incidents reported to the police result in conviction, and Amnesty International is urging the UK authorities to implement and support programmes to change entrenched attitudes as well as laws.

Amnesty International paid tribute to the brave work undertaken by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's organisations around the world in recent decades and also stressed the key role of men in forwarding its campaign to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Irene Khan said:

'As a human rights organisation we will mobilise our members and supporters around the world. We will engage men as well as Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Men must play a crucial part if we are to end violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

'Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is not normal, legal nor acceptable and should never be tolerated or justified. It can and must be stopped.'

More information about the campaign...

Note to editors - selected key statistics

  • One in three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the world will suffer violence in their lifetime
  • Each year two million girls aged between five and 15 are introduced into the commercial sex market and 700,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation
  • At least 1,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls a year are killed in 'honour crimes' in Pakistan alone - despite under-reporting a minimum of one new case a day (on average) is reported by the Pakistani newspapers
  • In India there are approximately 15,000 dowry deaths per year, mostly disguised as kitchen fires
  • 'Honour' defences (partial or complete) are legal in Peru, Bangladesh, Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, the West Bank and Venezuela
  • Around 135 million girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights globally are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation - a further two million girls a year are at risk of undergoing FGM
  • FGM occurs in 28 African countries, though only 14 African countries have adopted laws banning the practice
  • 97% of married Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Egypt aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM
  • In and around Juarez, Mexico at least 370 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights (many low-paid workers in assembly plants for multinational companies) have been murdered in the last 10 years - nearly 140 of these were sexually tortured before they were killed

  • Between 250,000 and 500,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, or about 20% of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, were raped during the 1994 Rwanda genocide
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina 20,000-50,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were raped during five months of conflict in 1992
  • 94% of the households displaced by conflict in Sierra Leone surveyed by Physicians for Human Rights had experienced sexual assaults, including rape, torture and sexual slavery
  • One in five Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the world will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime
  • Marital rape is recognised specifically as a crime in only 51 countries according to UNIFEM information
  • In the USA a woman is raped every 90 seconds
  • In Chile only 3% of all raped Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights report the incident to the police
  • In South Africa in 2000 52,975 rapes were reported, with the 12-17-year age group being the most vulnerable - the rape conviction rate is 7%
  • In the UK there were 14,000 recorded rapes in 2003 (8% up on 2002); only one in five rape attacks are reported to the police; 167 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are raped every day
  • 79 countries have no (or unknown) legislation against domestic violence a UNIFEM survey has found
  • About 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners
  • In 1999 in the USA, over half a million Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were the victims of domestic violence; a woman is assaulted (usually by her husband/partner) every 15 seconds and four Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights die each day as a result of violence in the family - approximately 1,400 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights a year
  • Domestic violence accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents in Europe
  • The Russian government estimates that 14,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were killed by their partners or relatives in 1999, yet the country has no law specifically addressing domestic violence
  • In the UK one in four Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights will experience violence at the hands of a partner during their lives, the emergency services receive one call a minute about violence in the family and two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights a week are killed
  • China's last census (2000) revealed a ratio of new-born girls to boys at 100:119 (the biological norm is 100:103)

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