Amnesty tells state to stop criminalising sex lives

March 6, 2014

Amnesty International on Thursday urged governments to stop criminalising people's sex lives and instead protect their right to control their own bodies.

The London-based human rights organisation launched a global two-year campaign aimed at defending sexual and reproductive rights against state control.

Amnesty said that around the world, people were "coerced, criminalised and discriminated against" for making choices about their bodies and their lives.

It said that in many cases, the state, medical professionals or relatives undermine people's freedom to make decisions about their bodies, sexuality and reproductive lives.

"It is unbelievable that in the 21st century some countries are condoning child marriage and marital rape while others are outlawing abortion, sex outside marriage and same-sex sexual activity—even punishable by death," said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty.

"States need to take positive action—not just by getting rid of oppressive laws but also promoting and protecting sexual and reproductive rights, providing information, education, services and ending impunity for sexual violence."

The "My Body My Rights" campaign, which targets via social media, focuses on seven countries—Algeria, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Ireland, Morocco, Nepal and Tunisia.

Amnesty said that in Algeria and Tunisia, and until January in Morocco, a rapist could avoid prosecution by marrying his victim. It said around 100 women a day were raped in Morocco.

The group said it would campaign to decriminalise abortion in Ireland, citing the case of Indian national Savita Halappanavar who died after being refused a termination.

Following the case, abortion became legal in July in limited cases where the mother's life is at risk.

In Burkina Faso, many young people struggle to access contraception and sexual health services, while in El Salvador, gender-based violence remains widespread, Amnesty said.

It said that in Nepal, around 600,000 women suffer from uterine prolapse, a painful condition often triggered by carrying heavy loads during pregnancy, having children very young and having several pregnancies in quick succession.

"We want to help the next generation realise and claim their sexual and reproductive rights," Shetty said.

"Together we want to send a clear and unequivocal message to governments that this kind of over-reaching control violates and is simply unacceptable."

Explore further: Nepal gender bias sparks health crisis in young women: Amnesty

Related Stories

Nepal gender bias sparks health crisis in young women: Amnesty

February 20, 2014
Hundreds of thousands of young women living in impoverished areas of rural Nepal have developed a debilitating uterus condition which usually only occurs after the menopause, Amnesty International said Thursday.

Women with a high economic status claim to have better sex

January 15, 2014
An analysis based on the first Spanish National Sexual Health Survey, carried out in 2009, confirms that socioeconomic factors affect sexual satisfaction. People with a lower economic status claim to be less sexually satisfied, ...

UN: Rich countries advance women, poorest don't

February 13, 2014
Richer countries have made advances toward equality for women and provided greater access to sexual and reproductive health care over the past 20 years—but the poorest countries have made little progress, according to a ...

​Recent reproductive coercion associated with unintended pregnancy

December 12, 2013
Birth control sabotage and pressure to become pregnant by male partners, also called "reproductive coercion," in the past three months is associated with recent unintended pregnancy among adolescent and young adult females ...

Ireland's Cabinet weighs options on abortion laws

November 27, 2012
(AP)—Ireland published an experts' report Tuesday recommending that the government define when a woman in a life-threatening pregnancy can receive an abortion, a major national issue since the death last month of an Indian ...

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.