SEMlac reports

SEMlac reports (323)

Mexico, May 20, 2013 (SEMlac Special). - "One of the major outstanding debts to women involves reproductive autonomy. We continue to be negatively affected by monotheistic, conservative religions, and States still make decisions for us, without asking if we want to have children or not," said Susana Chiarotti.

She is an Argentinean lawyer with long militancy in defending the rights of women and assessing how the countries of the region have complied with the Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Belém do Pará Convention.

"In Latin America , we have developed sex education programs and sexual and reproductive health plans, but we still face many problems in getting them implemented and in enabling women to make free decisions about their bodies. Sexual and reproductive rights must be respected because they have to do with not only the right to health, but also with the autonomy of women,” she indicated.

Mexico City, May 9, 2013 (SEMlac).- The introduction of oral trials in justice systems has cause the revictimization for women who have experienced violence, and who are forced to forgive their attackers, according to Patricia Olamendi, coordinator of the Expert Committee for MESCEVI, a mechanism at the Organization of American States in charge for examining the Interamerican Convention to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Violence against Women.

She said that in Mexico City, this double violation to women's rights is due to the failure in achieving cultural and qualitative changes in society's mindframe and judges.

Mexico City, May 10, 2013 (SEMlac).- Feminists from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa called on governments of the world to establish a democratic system, with economical justice, respectful of nature and with an even power and resource distribution so that women can be free and have access to their rights.

After four days of work at the international seminar "Network advocacy: Challenges to State compliance with their Commitments to Women's Human Rights" that concluded today in Mexico City with the participation of 80 lawyers and human rights advocates representing 54 organizations and six international advocacy network.

Mexico City, May 10, 2013 (SEMlac).- Latin American Committee for the Defense of Women Rights (CLADEM) considers that Mexican government is far from fully executing the sentence by the Interamerican Court of Human Rights in the case known as Campo Algodonero in Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua.

“From our perspective it is not executed, there is no political will nor signalts that speak about an implementation profess of the sentence" Angeles Lopez, Cladem's lawyer who is monitoring the case in Mexico.

Mexico City, May 8, 2013 (SEMlac).- The lack of compliance of Latin American and Caribbean states toward their commitments to women's rights are not due to lack of economic resources as governments tend to say, says women's human rights expert, Susana Chiarotti Boera, but to the blindness to inequity between men and women.

“It is not lack of resources, but their distribution", say the Argentinean lawyer during the international seminar "Network advocacy: Challenges to State compliance with their Commitments to Women's Human Rights" organized by the Latin American Committee for the Defense of Women Rights (CLADEM, by its acronym in Spanish).

Mexico City, May 8, 2013 (SEMlac).- Death of women and children related to pregnancy and birth in Latin America and the Caribbean are due to poverty and inequity in the access to health services, said Brazilian lawyer Silvia Pimentel, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the UN.

"Every country in the region knows where the problem is concentrated; everyone know why women and children are dying, and they technically know what needs to be done. What is needed is to give priority to problems in order to have effective responses", explained Pimentel, who is in charge to examine the implementation of CEDAW.

Mexico City, May 7, 2013 (SEMlac).- The Latin American Committee for the Defense of Women Rights (CLADEM, by its acronym in Spanish) demanded today on regional governments to leave discourse aside and fulfill their commitments to end three of the most pressing issues for Latin American women: impunity, criminalization of abortion and lack of guarantees for human rights advocates.

No law can be implemented with just announcements and campaign. Not without political will and no economic resources, the representatives of the feminist network this morning during a press conference to launch the international seminar "Network advocacy: Challenges to State compliance with their Commitments to Women's Human Rights" that will be held at the Palacio de Minería from May 7 to May 10.

Mexico City, April 30, 2013 (SEMlac).- The Latin American Committee for the Defense of Women Rights (CLADEM, by its acronym in Spanish) announced today the International Seminar: "Network advocacy: Challenges to State compliance with their Commitments to Women's Human Rights" that will be held at the historical Palacio de Minería in this city.

CLADEM, an international feminist network based in Peru organized this meeting to foster the exchange and feedback of lessons learned, good practices, strategies and sustainable partnerships among the networks that work to defend women's rights.

La Paz, December 3, 2012 (SEMlac). - Yola Mamani is a family worker who manages, along with another seven colleagues, a radio show that is broadcast over Deseo station. The idea behind the program is to make women’s labor exploitation modalities known to the general public.

They support other workers enduring violence in a sector that is being seriously discriminated against in the country. Most of them emigrate from rural areas, have no alternatives other than working as domestics, and live at their employers’, so they have no fixed working hours.

Mamani began working when she was only nine. Today, at 28, she realizes that they have all experienced the same hardships, including laid-off.

What forms of violence do family workers face?

The most visible forms include physical and psychological violence by employers and the Ministry of Labor itself. When we want to report a case, they ask us to submit evidence. This is not possible when women are harassed and/or insulted. We are also laid-off overnight, without any notice, as is required by law.

We girls are often pushed and/or beaten up when we work as maids. I never reported a case; I thought all that was normal.

We are not paid as we should. Although the minimum wage is 1,000 Bolivian pesos (around 140 dollars), we usually make from 500 up to 800 only. We get nothing at Christmas, no social benefits, no vacation, and no day off.

Do you think that not letting you study is a form of violence?

Yes, I do. You have to fight if you want to study. Employers usually tell us that there is no point in studying because we will always be working in the kitchen.

Can you describe any case of violence against your partners?

There are many cases similar to mine. In fact, this gives me strength to support them all the way. They are separated from their families, want to be heard, and get some guidance as to the social benefits they are entitled to.

What should family workers do?

First of all, they should be aware of their rights. That is the type of information we provide in our show.

The Ministry of Labor is not really helping us. We have to defend ourselves against labor exploitation, which is another form of violence.

Guadalajara, Mexico, November 26, 2012 (SEMlac). - Carla was a withdrawn 15-year old girl going to secondary school and helping out her mother with household chores.

One day, she did not come back from school. Her mother reported her missing, but local authorities in Querétaro, where they live, told her that the girl might have left with a boyfriend. After having unsuccessfully asked the Prosecutor’s Office to find her, she decided to investigate on her own.

She went to several neighboring cities and finally located her at a grocery store in Tlaxcala, around five hours away by bus from home. The entrance door to the place was practically closed on a permanent basis. Cargo truck drivers usually got in for soft-drinks or beers and got out accompanied by young girls.

Carla was one of them. Her mother tried to talk to her, but the girl simply told her not to worry. “I am fine; I have a baby,” she said.

The mother contacted authorities in Tlaxcala, but by the time they went to the store there was nobody there.

This was three years ago and she has had no further news about Carla ever since. She is still hopeful, looking for her daughter in other states.

In Querétaro, a city close to the Federal District , feminist groups estimate the number of young, poor girls aged 13 to 17 who have gone missing in the last six years at over 330.

A report of the Prosecutor’s Office in Querétaro sets the overall number at 43, however.

"These girls may have left their families because they were being abused or simply because they wanted to be with their boyfriends,” it added.

Gisela Sánchez, coordinator of the Health and Gender Civil Association, a civil- society organization, has repeatedly asked local authorities to conduct serious investigations.

This group has found out that young girls are often contacted over the Internet and asked to meet dealers at cafés.

As soon as they are given gifts, including perfumes, chocolates and clothes, are driven on luxury cars and are asked in marriage, they start having sex with these men.

“In some cases, they take them to other states, where their families cannot easily find them. In some others, the victims are forced into vehicles

on their way back home from school,” Sánchez told SEMlac.

“When a 13-year-old girl says she left home with her boyfriend, there is a need to investigate,” she added.

Sánchez is closely working with Feminist Millennium, Health and Gender, Equity and Diversity Network, Revolutionary Women, and other organizations.

They sent a communiqué to the Prosecutor in Querétaro indicating that local authorities have not been very active in carrying out investigations and supporting victims and their families.

”This is a serious violation of human rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” it stressed.

On the occasion of the International Day on Violence against Women, they distributed leaflets containing family tips to avoid enforced disappearance, including filing reports, making emergency phone calls, and sending alerts to bus stations, airports, etc.

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