Catholics urged to ignore policy directive against Amnesty International

    TORONTO, June 15 /CNW/ - "Yet again, the Catholic Church is trying to
bully an international rights group over women's and human rights" said
Kathleen Howes, spokesperson for Catholics for a Free Choice-Canada. "It is
hard to believe that the Church would oppose Amnesty International's work for
women's human rights, especially victims of rape in war torn countries".
    Catholics for Free Choice-Canada, is a Canadian voluntary group working
to provide education around sexual and reproductive health issues and which
supports the right of practising Catholics to dissent from official Church
policy on these matters. It has affirmed its strong support of the recently
announced Amnesty International policy on sexual rights, including selected
aspects of abortion. Defending the right of women to sexual and reproductive
integrity in the face of grave human rights violations, Amnesty International
recently incorporated a focus on selected aspects of abortion into its broader
policy on sexual and reproductive rights.
    "We regret but are not surprised by yesterday's statement from Cardinal
Renato Martino in Rome that the Catholic Church urges Catholic supporters of
Amnesty International to withdraw support from the widely respected global
human rights organization", said CFFC C.
    "It is regrettable" said Howes, a Toronto lawyer "and further
marginalizes the Catholic leadership from the mainstream of human rights work
related to women around the world. Not surprising when one looks at the where
policy is developed: in an all-male celibate enclave."
    "We imagine Catholics will ignore this policy directive as they do many

For further information:

For further information: Kathleen Howes at (416) 302-7154

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