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Access to abortion remained fully criminalized. A woman human rights defender faced criminal charges after raising concerns about women’s rights, including access to abortion, at a UN committee.

Human rights defenders

In January, three UN Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls called on the Andorran authorities to put an end to the apparent retaliation against Vanessa Mendoza Cortés for her engagement with UN human rights mechanisms.

In February, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, president of the organization Stop Violence, appeared before a judge to answer charges brought by the public prosecutor in 2020 following a complaint by the Andorran government as a result of her intervention at the CEDAW Committee, and statements she made in 2019 to the press, calling for the decriminalization of abortion and an improvement to women’s rights.1The original charges against her included offences of slandering the co-prince and government institutions. In June, the public prosecutor dropped two charges of slandering with prison sentences but kept the charge against the prestige of the institutions involving a fine of up to 30,000 euros.

All criminal charges against Vanessa Mendoza Cortés were still pending at the end of the year.

Sexual and reproductive rights

A discriminatory and harmful total ban on abortion was still in place. As a result, people in need of abortions were compelled to travel to France and Spain to seek the healthcare they needed. In March Andorra rejected all UPR recommendations to decriminalize abortion.

Freedom of expression

Defamation and related offences against public officials and institutions remained a criminal offence. In March the Andorran authorities rejected a UPR recommendation to decriminalize defamation in line with international human rights standards.

  1. “Andorra: Defamation charges against activist who raised rights concerns before UN Committee must be dropped”, 16 February