‘I am the present, trying to make a change for the future’

Yoshi Garcia, youth activist. The Spanish text reads: A flower for the 17… we won’t let your lives wither away. ©Private

Yoshi Garcia is a Salvadoran activist and self-styled “DJ with a conscience”. Aged 24, her interest in gender equality issues started when she was around 14. Since then, she has joined numerous campaigning organizations, including Agrupaçion (the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) and Jovenes Voceras y Voceros en los DS y DR (Youth Voices for Sexual and Reproductive Rights). Here, she tells us how she became a passionate advocate against El Salvador’s total abortion ban.

When I was growing up, I was told that abortion was illegal. In school, you were taught about abortion from a religious perspective – that abortion is wrong. At first, I believed this.

But I’ve had friends who got pregnant after they were raped by their fathers or by other men.  I’ve had friends who wanted an abortion because they didn’t feel ready to have children. In all these cases, their families forced them to have the baby. Continue reading

Posted in El Salvador, Human Rights Defenders and Activists, Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Sexual Violence, Women, Women's Rights | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

What does it mean to be unequal?

In El Salvador, women and girls are expected to prioritize being a mother or wife above everything else. © Amnesty International

As part of this year’s Blog Action Day, we take a look at how inequality drives the abuses that Amnesty works against every day. 

Inequality. It’s a reality we all come to know and understand at some point in our lives.

For some of us, our understanding of it starts with a child’s game. I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascalRemember that one? A simple game that cements power relationships. It reinforces inequality and the associations we make when we talk about it: king=rich=powerful; rascal=poor=helpless. (Notice how the powerful person is also a man? More on that later.)

Enter real life, where inequality is no longer a game, but a fact of our daily existence. If you’re a girl, inequality takes root from the moment you’re born. Why? Because gender stereotyping based on discriminatory attitudes happens everywhere. From the banal (She’s a girl, she should wear pink) to the heart-breaking (She’s a girl, she’s no use). Continue reading

Posted in El Salvador, Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Sexual Violence, Women | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Write for Amnesty on Blog Action Day

On Blog Action Day, thousands of bloggers, vloggers and social media people do their thing to raise awareness about one big issue. © PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

For this year’s Blog Action Day on Thursday 16 October, we’re asking for your thoughts, films and photos about inequality – an issue close to Amnesty’s heart.

What is Blog Action Day?
For one day, thousands of bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, social media people, photographers and designers do their thing to raise awareness about one big issue. This year’s focus is inequality, and we’d love for you to contribute your thoughts on what it means for you.

Inequality and Amnesty

Right now, the issue of inequality touches many areas of Amnesty’s work. From attacks on Roma communities in Greece to discrimination against homosexual people in Uganda, it’s often the most marginalised groups in society whose human rights are most under threat.
Continue reading

Posted in Discrimination, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Poverty, Women | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Russia’s increasingly harsh climate for environmentalists

Evgeniy Vitishko protested against the environmental impact of development around Sochi 2014. © AFP/Getty Images

Evgeniy Vitishko protested against the environmental impact of development around Sochi 2014. © MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images

By Conor Fortune, News Writer, and Friederike Behr, Researcher on Russia at Amnesty International

There’s plenty wrong with the environment in Russia today, though the authorities might have you believe otherwise.

It’s true that the country boasts an expansive network of protected areas. And President Vladimir Putin appears to relish media coverage of his bare-chested escapades fishing and riding on horseback through the seemingly pristine Russian countryside.

But scratch beneath this healthy veneer and the reality is not so clean and green. The aftermath of decades of poor policy and corruption dating back to Soviet times continues to result in problems ranging from deforestation and air pollution to chemical contamination of ground water.

Continue reading

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‘The voices of free Russia will be heard’

Yulia Berezovskaja, Director General of Grani.ru. © Private

By Yulia Berezovskaja, Director General of Grani.ru, a banned independent online media outlet in Russia

In Russia we have paid dearly, very dearly, for words: penal servitude under the tsars for the distribution of subversive tracts, and years of Soviet labour camps and madhouses for using the underground system of samizdat to pass documents from reader to reader or for telling political jokes.

In this country, now, there are people in power who forged their careers in the KGB through brutal suppression of free speech and ideas. Now deeply implicated in the Ukrainian war, their actions are increasingly shameless and cruel. Continue reading

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