rights advocates and female Ministry of Women's Affairs officials have been targeted and killed in recent years. Armed groups have also targeted girls’ schools, attacking teachers and students. Globally, Amnesty International has fought continuously for Afghan women's rights, raising awareness of the dangers faced by women every day in the country. Between 2013 and 2014, over 94,000 Australians signed our petition calling on the international community and the incoming President of Afghanistan to protect and strengthen the rights of women and girls. And earlier this year, almost 1000 Amnesty Australia supporters showed the brave men and women fighting for Afghan women's rights that they were not alone by sending a message of solidarity to individual advocates within the country. Amnesty International will continue to encourage Australia and other governments to call on the incoming Afghan President to protect women’s rights, such as by fully implementing the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law and ensuring a full quota of 25 per cent of women in parliament. To find out more follow this link http://www.amnesty.org.au/afghanwomen/comments/34771/
VICTORY FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY IN PARAGUAY After more than 20 years fighting for their rights, the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community has finally achieved their goal. On 11 June, the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, signed the law that will enable the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community to return to their ancestral land in the Chaco region. This is a major victory for the Sawhoyamaxa, whose traditional land is vital for the survival of their community. The law allows the Paraguayan State to take control of the 14,404 hectares of traditional land and return it to the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community by paying the landowner compensation. The President’s signature was the final step after a long and tenacious battle by the Indigenous community, who have lived in harsh conditions on a narrow strip of land by a busy road for over two decades. The bill was given the initial green light by the Paraguayan parliament’s upper house on 24 April and then the lower house on 21 May.
The law finally brings Paraguay into compliance with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 2006 judgement ordering the State to return the ancestral land to the Sawhoyamaxa community. The Court found that the rights to legal protection, the right to property and right to life of Sawhoyamaxa community members had been violated. Amnesty International issued three Urgent Actions for the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community which were sent out globally through our Urgent Action Network - one for each of the three levels of parliament the bill had to pass through to make it law. Working with Amnesty International in Paraguay, Amnesty sections around the world including Canada, UK and Spain promoted the case online and asked their supporters to take action. In Australia, each Urgent Action was sent to people ready to write letters to the Paraguayan authorities. To maintain the pressure on key decision makers in Paraguay, an online action was created to help get the bill through the Upper House and then signed off by the President. The action was promoted through social media and a dedicated group of 2,389 Amnesty supporters were asked to send actions in the hours leading up to the final decisions. Amnesty believes that, in concert with other organisations, our support for the community’s own efforts had a genuine impact and helped achieve this historic outcome.
AM-UNITY MAG EDITION 2
The government of Paraguay has set a positive precedent in addressing the rights of the Sawhoyamaxa community. Now is the chance to address the rights of other Indigenous communities across the country and commit to reversing many years of discrimination and other human rights violations against Indigenous peoples. To find out more follow this link http://www.amnesty.org.au/iar/comments/34807
This edition of AM-UNITY Magazine sees a focus on Refugee/Asylum Seeker Rights, Afghan Women’s Rights and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgende...