Women’s human rights defender, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, could soon stand trial for speaking out for women’s rights in Andorra, including abortion rights, before a UN expert body in 2019.
The charges against her stemmed from her engagement with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW), as part of the regular and vital exchange of information conducted between this UN body and human rights defenders around the world.
Vanessa Mendoza Cortés is a psychologist and the president of the women’s rights organization, Stop Violence, (Associació Stop Violències, in Catalan), which focuses on gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and advocates for safe and legal abortion in Andorra.
Andorra, with a population of around 77,000 people, has a total ban on abortion. As a result, people in need of abortions are compelled to travel abroad, mainly to France and Spain to seek the healthcare they are entitled to.
She faces a heavy fine and a criminal record if convicted. The authorities should drop the charge against Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, stemming solely from the exercise of her right to freedom of expression and advocating for women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, and take all necessary measures to ensure access to safe and legal abortion in Andorra.
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