Woman human rights defender, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, from Andorra could soon face trial for speaking out on women’s rights and the right to abortion before the United Nations (UN). If Vanessa is convicted, she faces a big fine of 30.000 Euros and could have a criminal record.
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.
Vanessa has been targeted by her government for the past four years, simply for exercising her right to freedom of expression and criticising the full ban on abortion care in the country.
Vanessa spoke in front of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 2019, as part of the regular and critical exchange of information conducted between this UN body and human rights defenders around the world.
Following a complaint from the Andorran government, the public prosecutor brought charges against her. While previous charges of defamation, which carried prison sentences, were dropped in 2021, thanks to international pressure, Vanessa continues to be harassed by the prosecution, who is accusing her of crime ‘against the prestige of the institutions’.