Galway to host Amesty International conference on violence against women

Violence against women will be the focus of a major conference to be held by Amnesty International Ireland in NUI Galway next week.

The conference, which will take place in Room AC203, main concourse, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Thursday December 5, will focus on the case of Miriam Lopez, from Mexico, who was brutally raped and who has been denied justice.

The speakers will be Niamh Reilly (NUIG ), who will discuss rape as a crime in international law and violence perpetrated by state actors; Helen Mortimer (Rape Crisis Centre executive director ), who will talk about the gender stereotypes relating to rape and discuss the impact that rape has on survivors’ lives; and Sara Bertotti (Amnesty International ).

According to Ms Bertotti, in February 2011, Miriam Lopez was grabbed by two men wearing balaclavas. For the following week she was raped repeatedly by soldiers, until she signed a statement falsely implicating herself in drug offences. She was sent to prison to await trial, but was released without charge seven months later. Despite the fact Ms Lopez has identified some of the perpetrators and their accomplices, no one has been brought to justice for the torture she endured.

Conference attendees will be invited to take action to support Ms Lopez, who is one of the individuals featured in Amnesty International’s annual letter writing campaign.

“Our annual letter writing campaign is a global community coming together to change the lives of people who can feel they have been abandoned,” said Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O’Gorman. “A single letter to the authorities might be brushed aside, but thousands of letters all calling for human rights change are harder to ignore.”


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