Latin America: Ineffective legal mechanisms against women’s murders

Federal District, Mexico, August (SEMlac). – Women’s murders are posing a very serious threat to peace and democracy in Latin America . Official reports by NGOs, prosecutor offices and violence observatories indicate that 18 women are being killed every day in the region.

Carmen Moreno, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women, said that this figure clearly shows how much violence there is in the area, while anthropologist Marcela Lagarde stressed that it also reveals that violence against women is reaching unimagined extremes.

They both think that this phenomenon is really difficult to quantify and is critical in Mexico , Colombia , Guatemala , Honduras , Paraguay , and El Salvador .

There have been many laws, policies and actions seeking to stop women’s murders and violence, but the number of such acts remains high.


Situation in Mexico

The General Law on Women’s Access to a Violence-Free Society (LGAMVLV) has made it possible to devise a mechanism called Gender Violence Warning in areas where women face the highest risk.

It has not been fully established, however. Local authorities have announced a comprehensive review to secure its effective implementation, as has been demanded by the National Citizen Observatory on Women’s Murders (OCNF).

Over 40 organizations that make up the Observatory anticipated that they will implement both national and international legal and political actions to expose human-rights violations by the Mexican government.

This came from a recent forum on LGAMVLV and Gender Violence Warning in Mexico City . Participants identified a number of obstacles that prevent victims from having access to justice.

Passed in 2007, LGAMVLV establishes the authority to issue protection and restraining orders, as well as gender warnings wherever appropriate. These warnings have been requested in Guanajuato, Morelos, Nuevo León , Hidalgo , state of Mexico , Oaxaca , Chiapas , Sinaloa and Veracruz , but they have not been issued.

”We have noted that the Mexican State has failed to put in place effective coping mechanisms,” said Observatory coordinator María Estrada.

She has strongly favored the idea of amending the Law to incorporate recommendations by relevant international organizations.

“A multidisciplinary group should be set up for this purpose,” she stressed.

Federal authorities have recognized that the number of acts of violence against women has grown by over 400 percent in the last few years. A United Nations report indicated that women’s murders in Mexico had experienced a 103-percent increase in 2012 as compared to 2011. And the National Institute of Women announced that a total of 36,606 women and girls had been killed in the country in the 1985-2010 period.

Last April 18, the Mexican Senate asked the Ministry of the Interior and the National Institute of Women to explain why requests from civil-society organizations to issue gender violence warnings had been rejected in Oaxaca, Guanajuato, the state of Mexico, and Nuevo León.

It also asked them to identify the most frequently seen forms of violence and follow-up implementation of the national system to prevent, cope with, sanction and eradicate violence against women.

Senator Angélica Peña, who co-sponsored the bill in 2007, highlighted the need to develop protocols for gender warnings.

MP Martha L. Micher recalled that over 14,000 women had been killed in Mexico in the 2001-2010 period.

“There is no law-enforcement mechanism in place,” she regretted.

Pablo Navarrete, a lawyer at the National Institute of Women, underscored the need to separate political considerations from legal and technical matters.

Lagarde urged to assess the Law before it is amended. ”We should first collect further data to see the extent of the problem (women’s murders). It certainly is a national emergency,” she concluded.



Rate this item
(0 votes)

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.