Amnesty International Society to host a discussion about “Human Rights and the Body: The Zika Virus”

ON THE 13th April 2016 the Amnesty International Society is hosting a discussion titled, “Human Rights and the Body: The Zika Virus”. The event will begin at 6pm and will be held in the Main Hall of the Interpol Building at the University.

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The discussion will focus on the effect Zika virus has had on the issue of sexual and reproductive rights – which follows Amnesty International’s global campaign “My Body My Rights”. The event will be guided and chaired by Lucy Taylor and will see International Politics Professors, Christian Enemark and Colin McInnes, joined by representatives of Amnesty International, Kate Sherringer and Celia Lang.

The event will be broken down into sections with Christian Enemark explaining what the Zika virus is, followed by Colin McInnes talking about what makes a virus a global crisis and how Zika became one. Then Amnesty representatives will provide some background to the “My Body My Rights” campaign and how it relates to the ongoing Zika outbreak. The rest of the event will be a round table discussion chaired by Lucy Taylor, and will use questions from the audience.

What is Amnesty’s campaign about?

Amnesty’s “My Body My Rights” campaign focuses on attempting to stop the control and criminalisation of sexuality and reproduction, it relates to reproductive choice and access to abortions and birth control. Amnesty believes that sexual and reproductive rights mean that you should be allowed to control, and make decisions about, your body – in addition to being able to access specific services.

What is Zika?

A virus that is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes causes Zika virus disease. The symptoms can last between two to seven days, and include: mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.

It’s known to circulate in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and its origins in humans can be traced back to 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The ongoing outbreak is concentrated in the Americas, and was first identified in Brazil in March 2015, since then it has become the world’s largest outbreak of Zika and thus caused a global crisis.

While mosquitoes are the primary transmitter of the disease, it can also be sexually transmitted – which was originally thought to be a more rare way to contract the disease, however recent revelations show that this isn’t the case. Pregnant mothers can also transmit the disease to their foetuses.

The event will shed some more light on the virus and how exactly it relates to Amnesty International’s campaign about sexual and reproductive rights.

Mikey Rose, President of Amnesty International Society at Aberystwyth, said:

“This event intertwines a hugely important issue with an extremely topical crisis. Whether you’re an avid campaigner for human rights or are just keen to learn about the challenges facing humanity at present, I urge you to come along!”