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Last week marked the launch of Amnesty International’s My Body My Rights two-year campaign. The human rights organisation has partnered up with Chinese born, and Japanese based, Internet sensation Hikaru Cho (Choo-Sa) to illustrate body rights via a unique series of oil on body paintings.
My Body My Rights emphasises being able to make our own decisions about our health, body and sexual life as a fundamental human right, whilst also highlighting the grave abuses of these rights that continue to occur around the world, including denied contraception, life-saving termination’s and homophobic harassment.
Twenty-year-old Hikaru Cho uses the body as a canvas and has been able to demonstrate sexual and reproductive rights through her use of body parts and oils. Each of the body rights highlighted by her was conceived after human rights briefings with Amnesty International. Hikaru rose to fame last year as an Internet sensation, under her nickname Choo-San, after her hyper-real body art caught the attention of both British and international media.
You have the right to live free from rape and sexual violence – the artwork depicts a face emerging from a cracked shell, a metaphor for the fragility that many victims of sexual violence feel and the emotional scars they have to deal with.
You have the right to know and learn about your body, sexual health and relationships – the design focuses on access to information and features books which appear to be ingrained in the model’s back.
You have the right to sexual and reproductive health services – including contraception – the design features an illusion of a strip of contraceptive pills, which appear to be ingrained in the arm.
“You have the right to choose who you love and what kind of family you want and to live free from rape and sexual violence…I hope my art can help young people start a conversation about those rights.” – Hikaru Cho.
It is estimated that around 1.8 billion young people are at risk of having their sexual and reproductive rights ignored by their government, medical professionals and even their own families. Despite commitments nearly 20 years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development many of these young people are still struggling to access sexual and reproductive health services, information or education that they need for a safe and healthy life.
Women and girls are disproportionally affected by restrictions on their reproductive rights with complications in pregnancy being the leading cause of death among adolescent girls between 15-19 in developing countries.
Amnesty International explains that the consequences of world leaders failure to keep their promises has resulted in nearly 3,000 young people being infected with HIV every day, and yet only 34% of young people in developing countries being able to answer the 5 basic questions about HIV and how it can be prevented. The human rights organisation is urging world leaders to take real action and make real changes when they meet later this year to discuss sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This is not the first time the world’s largest human rights movement, with over 3 million members in more than 150 countries, has used art in campaigns as is demonstrated in ‘Art for Amnesty’, an on-going global project which works with musicians, actors and artists around the world to raise the profile of Amnesty International and to give human rights a more powerful and recognisable voice.
So far the campaign has received over 11,000 petition ‘actions’ in the short time since it was launched. You can find out more about Amnesty International campaigns and take action for My Body My Rights at: