Photo: Screenshot UNWebTV. Vanessa Mendoza Cortes delivers her statement on behalf of ISHR and Association Stop Violence.


HRC52: Andorra must guarantee Vanessa Mendoza Cortes’ right to reparations for the reprisals against her

During the General Debate Item 5, ISHR and Association Stop Violences delivered a joint statement highlighting the case of reprisals against woman human rights defender Vanessa Mendoza Cortes in Andorra, following her participation in CEDAW in 2019.

Vanessa Mendoza, the president of Associació Stop Violències, is demanding that all women in Andorra are able to enjoy their rights to sexual and reproductive health, in particular the decriminalisation of abortion. Due to her advocacy including with the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), she is facing intimidation, judicial harassment and defamation.

ISHR has raised her case in its 2021 and 2022 submissions to the UN Secretary General’s annual reprisals reports, as well as during the UPR of Andorra in November 2020 and the adoption of the UPR report in March 2021.  

During the General Debate on Item 5, Vanessa Mendoza Cortes delivered a joint statement with ISHR. Read the statement and watch it below:

This is a joint statement of ISHR and Association Stop Violences. 

My name is Vanessa Mendoza Cortes. I am a social psychologist expert in sexual violence and president of the Association Stop Violences in Andorra, an organisation that  fights against violence against women and girls, defends sexual and reproductive rights, and we are the only ones to offer specialised therapies in sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

In my country there is still a total prohibition of abortion, so women and girls have to travel to Spain or France for it.

As of today, I am awaiting a trial date for my participation in CEDAW in 2019. Following which, the government of Andorra launched a criminal complaint accusing me of defamation against the prestige of the institutions. I will face a trial where I will be facing civil liability and I can be fined up to 30,000 euros. I was released provisionally and I suffer a constant smear and hate campaign that is affecting my private and professional life, and therefore that of many women we cannot help or care for.

We call on all countries of this Human Rights Council to pressure the authorities to close the case against me.

I ask for support from networks to attend in person the trial that will take place soon. And we demand the Government of Andorra to:  

  1. Legalise the right to abortion
  2. Decriminalise defamation from the Penal Code
  3. Provide me with reparations for the violations and harm caused in these years with its denunciation.
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